When Alexander Mickelthwate told his young son Jack they were moving from Winnipeg, Canada, to Oklahoma City, his first thought was: “But Dad, they have tornadoes there!”
It was 2018, and Mickelthwate had just accepted a new position as Music Director of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Tornadoes aside, he knew instinctively Oklahoma City would be a good fit—both personally and professionally.
“We spent 12 years in Winnipeg,” Mickelthwate said, “And I also lived in Los Angeles and New York City. But Oklahoma—it is a perfect fit. For my wife and our two sons, it gives us the feeling of a large city, yet small enough to have a sense of community. And leading our state’s premier orchestra is an amazing opportunity.”
Mickelthwate was born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany. He received his degree from the Peabody Institute of Music, and has worked with orchestras in Atlanta, Winnipeg and Los Angeles.
During his four years with the OKCPHIL, Mickelthwate has brought a sort of “coolness” factor to the Philharmonic. His young, fresh approach is giving patrons a taste of the traditional yet innovative.
“My wife Abigail and I celebrated our 25th anniversary recently at the new Nonesuch restaurant,” Mickelthwate said. “Our meal consisted of a number of different dishes— some familiar, and some new and exciting. As I sampled each course, I thought that’s how our programming is. We are giving our audiences the traditional music they love, but also letting them experience a new palate.”
Mickelthwate has embraced Oklahoma City and its rich and colorful tapestry. One of his next goals, he says, is to ride a horse!
Artistically, he has programmed several concerts with a Native American theme, and has created some touching tributes to our city’s history. Two years ago, he commissioned a special piece for the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, and next season the OKCPHIL will present an original work celebrating the centennial of civil rights icon Clara Luper.
“I have so much I want to do,” Mickelthwate said. “I want Oklahoma City to think of us as part of the family. If you’re a regular patron, we thank you! If you haven’t been for a while, please come back. And if you haven’t yet experienced our concerts, please join us! I believe music has a healing effect. It goes straight to the heart, and it unites us all. I truly love Oklahoma City and am so proud to be part of the community.”
Information on the OKCPHIL’s 2022-23 season can be found at www.okcphil.org
424 Colcord Dr. B Oklahoma City, OK 73102