Desktop: Barry Epperley
Director, Performing Arts Institute at Tulsa Community College and Tulsa Signature Symphony
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” These words by Victor Hugo grace the entrance to Barry Epperley’s office. The well-known Tulsa conductor has devoted his life to proving just that. His walls, desk art, shelves and even a box behind his filing cabinet serve as both a living scrapbook and 3-D résumé.
Epperley, director of both the Performing Arts Institute at Tulsa Community College and the Tulsa Signature Symphony, has a bio peppered with the stuff of greatness. He grew up in Stillwater, where he also attended Oklahoma State University, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education. He put himself through graduate school at the University of Southern California by selling orange juice at Disneyland and eventually graduated with his Doctorate of Musical Arts to become an arranger and producer at Disney.
He then spent six years in active service to the U.S. Army as director of the U.S. Army Band, performing for President Richard Nixon, astronaut Neil Armstrong and Japanese Emperor Hirohito.
He and his wife, Jane, eventually moved back to Oklahoma when their son, Brad, was born, and Epperley held several positions, including orchestra conductor, choral conductor, chairman of the music department and music director for Oral Roberts TV shows, at Oral Roberts University.
He is also recognizable as the face of the Oklahoma Heart Institute. His 2010 diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation led to an advertising campaign featuring his story and image.