Mozart and some ‘OK,’ too
The Amici New York Orchestra is comprised of 45 musicians from four major New York orchestral groups.
The 30th annual OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville will likely draw a wide range of music lovers — whether you favor singer-songwriter Sara Jarosz out of Austin, Texas, or music from the 145th Army Band.
If you prefer theater, then jot down on your must-see list the production of “Romeo & Juliet” for Shakespeare in the Park. Other highlights include a Vienna-style gala — in keeping with this year’s theme centered on the Austrian city, a performance by the OK Mozart Youth Orchestra sitting side by side with the Amici New York Orchestra, and an interesting pop-classical collaboration.
“For the 30th anniversary of the festival we wanted to accomplish two things,” says Artistic Director Constantine Kitsopoulos. “We wanted to put the Mozart and the ‘OK’ back into OK Mozart.
“Mozart spent a good part of his life in Vienna, and so it makes sense that we would celebrate the musical heritage of that great city.”
With that idea in mind, the festival organizers have programmed pieces by Mozart for nearly all of the concerts. However, it’s not all Mozart, all the time, for those wanting the diversity for which OK Mozart is known.
“People will enjoy the music of other composers with Viennese roots such as Beethoven, Mahler and the ‘Waltz King’ Johann Strauss,” Kitsopoulos says.
Some Oklahoma flavor has been added with a new initiative, the OK Mozart All State Youth Orchestra, to be featured in the festival’s opening concert.
The group includes 65 high school students from around the state, including seven Tulsa students. They will have the opportunity to perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 alongside members of Amici New York.
Amici New York is comprised of 45 players from four major New York groups: New York Philharmonic, Met Opera Orchestra, New York City Pops and American Symphony Orchestra.
The directors of OK Mozart chose Amici’s members, says Dr. Randy Thompson, OK Mozart executive director.
“They are the official resident orchestra for two weeks in June,” Thompson says. “To my knowledge, no other festival does this.”
OK Mozart also reached out to professional singers in the state and cast them in the Wednesday evening Mozart opera, “The Magic Flute,” Kitsopoulos says.
Other vocal performances include The Bartlesville Choral Society, which will appear twice during the week.
Additionally, singer Jarosz and Amici New York will collaborate, says Laura Cunningham, artistic operations director.
“We’ve never paired pop singers with members of the Amici New York Orchestra before, but Constantine is arranging accompaniments with her songs,” she says.
Kitsopoulos, a New Yorker, was drawn to OK Mozart because of Bartlesville’s commitment to great music.
“The fact that a world-renowned festival such as the OK Mozart International Festival exists in Bartlesville speaks volumes about the community,” he says.
“This is a town that clearly values the arts and has committed itself to the universal value of great music and the artists that create and recreate it.
“I’ve made many good friends in Bartlesville and have found the people to be warm and welcoming and very appreciative. Coming to Bartlesville several times a year feels like coming home to me.”
OK Mozart at a Glance: Main Stage Events
Saturday, June 7: 6 p.m., Opening Night Celebration
Sunday, June 8: 3 p.m., OK Mozart All-State Youth Orchestra with John Kimura Parker and the Amici New York Orchestra
Monday, June 9: 7 p.m., formal OK Mozart Gala, Viennese Waltz Ball
Wednesday, June 11: 7:30 p.m., Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”
Thursday, June 12: 8 p.m., Sarah Jarosz with musicians from the Amici New York Orchestra
Friday, June 13: 8 p.m., Woolaroc Outdoor Concert
Saturday, June 14: 8 p.m., Grand Finale Concert with the Amici New York Orchestra
June 7-14 — OK Mozart 30th International Music Festival View the full event lineup and purchase tickets at www.okmozart.com or 918-336-9900.