OK Mozart festival to celebrate composer’s Vienna

Original article by James D. Watts, Jr. at Tulsa World.

The OK Mozart International Festival will devote its 30th anniversary season to celebrating what was once called “the city of music” — Vienna.

The festival, to be held June 7-14 at the Bartlesville Community Center, will feature guest appearances by noted pianist Jon Kimura Parker, the acclaimed Miro String Quartet, and three-time Grammy Award nominee Sarah Jarosz, as well as the return of the festival’s orchestra-in-residence, the Amici New York Orchestra.

Earlier this year, OK Mozart Executive Director Randy Thompson said that the festival was “rededicating itself to its original vision” — focusing more on classical music after several seasons of experimenting with wider-ranging programs that including film, theater and popular music.

Thompson added that the 2014 festival would “put the OK back into OK Mozart,” by featuring local and regional performers of all ages in three of the main stage concerts.

The June 8 concert, for example, will feature the debut of the OK Mozart All-State Youth Orchestra, made up of some of the best high school-aged musicians in the state.

This ensemble will perform side-by-side with the Amici New York in Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan.” This concert will also feature Jon Kimura Parker as the soloist for the Piano Concerto No. 20 by Mozart. OK Mozart artistic director Constantine Kitsopoulos will conduct.

The Bartlesville Choral Society, led by Susan Mueller, will be featured in two concerts. The group will serve as the chorus for an abridged, semi-staged production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” on June 11, which will feature students from state and regional universities, chosen by audition, in the main roles.

The opera will be performed in English, with Kitsopoulos conducting the Amici New York Orchestra.

The Bartlesville Choral Society will also be featured in the festival’s Grand Finale Concert June 14, which will be devoted to the Symphony No. 9, “Choral,” by Beethoven.

Jarosz, who on Sunday could win two Grammy Awards (she’s nominated for Best Folk Album for “Build Me Up From Bones,” the title track of which is nominated for Best American Roots Song), will perform with the Amici New York on June 12.

Jarosz, a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, was named “one of acoustic music’s finest talents” for her songwriting ability as well as her prowess on guitar, banjo and mandolin.

The June 13 concert will be the traditional Woolaroc Outdoor Concert at Woolaroc Ranch, with Kitsopoulos leading the Amici New York in a program of patriotic music by such composers as John Philip Sousa and John Williams, culminating in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s “1812” Overture, complete with cannon fire and fireworks.

The Miro Quartet, considered one of the best string quartets working today, will perform throughout the festival. The quartet will perform afternoon concerts at 2 p.m. June 9-13 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in downtown Bartlesville, and will join with the Amici New York’s woodwind sextet for the Spencer Prentiss/Becky Wallace Chamber Concert on June 10 at St. Luke’s.

The June 10 evening event will be something new for OK Mozart — a formal Viennese Waltz Ball gala, held in the recently renovated Johnstone-Sare building in downtown Bartlesville. This black-tie evening will include dancing to Viennese waltzes and polkas, performed by Kitsopoulos and the Amici New York, as well as cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres.

The festival will open with a free Opening Night Celebration on June 7, followed by a block party at Second Street and Dewey Avenue, featuring Austin-based performers Joe Sundell, Loves It! and Ramsay Midwood.

Season tickets for OK Mozart will go on sale to the public Feb. 17. Season tickets range from $115-$180 adults, $50-$100 students.