It was near twilight on an early summer evening when Alexander Mickelthwate arrived in downtown Oklahoma City. Dressed casually in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers, the Music Director for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic was preparing for a photo shoot.
“I’m usually wearing a tux when I’m working,” he laughed. “But I’m trying to be a little more
casual. That’s not always so easy for a boy from Germany!” Mickelthwate is currently preparing for a new season—his sixth with the OKCPHIL.
“We have so much happening,” he said. “We begin Sept. 9 with a concert of all-Tchaikovsky, and from there we never slow down. We have programs featuring the music of Rachmaninoff, Bach & Brahms, and Respighi’s beautiful ‘Pines of Rome.’ Our Pops concerts feature music from the movies as we present ‘From Chinatown to La La Land.’ The group Take 6 headlines our Christmas concert ‘A Very Merry Pops,’ with guest star Sandi Patty. And next spring we’re bringing Bernadette Peters to town. So there’s something for everybody!”
The OKCPHIL has been a source of joy and inspiration for 35 years, enriching Oklahoma and its communities through orchestral music. For much of those 35 years, the OKCPHIL was led by its founder, legendary Maestro Joel Levine.
When Mickelthwate came on board, he brought with him an eagerness to build on the successes of the past and pave the way for the future.
“Oklahoma City should be known as a breeding ground for fun and creativity,” he said. “That’s my thing. In the first season, we were always surprised how the audiences were really open to the contemporary. It’s crazy how embracing the audience is for adventurous, fun new things. This season, we are tempering the contemporary with traditional. I think audiences will be pleased with what they hear.”
The Philharmonic has also demonstrated a steadfast commitment to music education. Through various educational programs, the orchestra positively impacts the lives of more than 35,000 individuals each year. These initiatives aim to nurture a love for music and foster the next generation of musicians and music enthusiasts.
“We want to have that creative force become so strong that it shines outside Oklahoma and helps elevate the entire city and the entire state,” Mickelthwate said. “We want to fill the hall, to be meaningful in Oklahoma, to be fun, and just create something where there’s a place in the city where we all are one. I have often said ‘We feel the love, Oklahoma City.’ And we are giving it right back!”