The Philharmonic’s Expanding Sound

The Philharmonic’s Expanding Sound

With Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate at the helm, the OKC Philharmonic is preparing to launch into a concert season that’s more varied than ever.

Beethoven, Shostakovich, Respighi, Strauss … but also Ennio Morricone, Jonny Greenwood and Frank Zappa? The OKC Philharmonic is tuning up for a new season, and a broader range of musical treats than ever before is in store for listeners.

Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate is about to raise the baton on his second year at the Philharmonic podium, and has put together a Classics season with a good deal of range. “I really hope everyone is as excited as I am,” he said as the programming was announced; now’s the time to get enthused, because the season begins Sept. 14. In Oklahoma Stories, the Phil will pair the familiar – Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5 – with the new and intriguing, in the form of Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto featuring guest artist Matilda Lloyd, and a Native medley including Cherokee composer Jack Kilpatrick’s “American Indian Serenade.”

The combination of major names from the classical canon with unexpected selections continues through the season: for example, October’s slate (inspired by Life of Pi) includes Benjamin Britten and Debussy’s “La Mer,” alongside a piece from 15-year-old local composer Dacey Tietz. January’s Minimalism in a New World pairs Dvorak with Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 1 – “I hope to do more Glass here in general,” says Mickelthwate – and “The Dog Breath Variations” by Frank Zappa. Speaking of range, February gets two concerts thanks to Leap Year, and they’re titled From the Dramatic to the Sublime and Colliding Contrasts.

The general takeaway is that – due to the skill and dedication of the state’s finest musicians – each performance will be impeccably and beautifully presented, and even longtime listeners will encounter new compositions to expand their musical palates. Excitement is warranted; visit to explore the full schedule and get individual tickets or multi-concert packages, then take your seats. They’re already tuning up.