OK Mozart launches 30th season

Original article by Emily Droege in the Examiner-Enterprise.

Thursday’s chilly weather didn’t stop music lovers from flocking to the Bartlesville Community Center and warming up to orchestral music and tasty finger food as OK Mozart Festival officials announced their upcoming season.

Now celebrating its 30th year in Bartlesville, the summer festival will welcome back the acclaimed Amici New York Orchestra as the “Music of Vienna” delights audiences from June 7–14.

“The wonderful vision that was initiated by Nan Buhlinger and Ransom Wilson in the first OK Mozart Festival of 1985 is reflected and honored in this year’s 30th anniversary, making our audience base of support very happy,” said OKM Executive Director Randy Thompson.

During the launch party, OKM Artistic Director Constantine Kitsopoulos described the musical events taking place at the eight-day festival, highlighted by a formal Viennese Waltz Ball. The black-tie dinner and dance on June 9 will transport attendees back to Imperial Austria around 1844 when Johann Strauss II, also known as the “Waltz King,” made his debut in Vienna.

Here, guests will dance to romantic Viennese waltzes and polkas played by members of the Amici New York Orchestra and conducted by Kitsopoulos. The evening will include cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres and dancing in the newly restored Johnstone-Sare building in downtown Bartlesville.

“We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary in style — Viennese style,” said Kitsopoulos.

The milestone festival also will feature nationally renowned artists such as pianist Jon Kimura Parker and Sarah Jarosz, a three-time Grammy nominee, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. One of America’s high-profile chamber groups, the Miró Quartet, is also in the lineup of performances.

Another concert highlight will take place on June 11 when Amici New York and the Bartlesville Choral Society join forces to perform a 90-minute semi-staged version of Mozart’s opera, “The Magic Flute.” Performed in English for family enjoyment, the concert will feature singers hand-selected from throughout Oklahoma.

“I’ve been all over the state searching for Oklahoma’s brightest vocal talent auditioning young singers,” Kitsopoulos said.

Keeping in tune with familiar favorites, the always popular Woolaroc Outdoor Concert promises to be a lively Friday evening filled with patriotic favorites by John Williams, John Philip Sousa and other numbers by the Amici New York Orchestra.

Finally, more than 100 performers will light up the Bartlesville Community Center stage during the festival’s grand finale on June 14 when the Bartlesville Choral Society, directed by Susan Mueller, joins the Amici New York Orchestra and Kitsopoulos in presenting Beethoven’s Symphony No 9.

Throughout the festival, OKM will present a variety of daily showcase events at various locations throughout Bartlesville. Officials said that most of the programs are free and are designed to be entertaining, engaging and educational.

“The OK Mozart International Festival has always been about community. The people have of Bartlesville and surrounding communities have been welcoming artists and audiences from all over the world for a long time now,” said Kitsopoulos. “Thank you to all the people who make OK Mozart possible … after all it’s people who put it together to make it work.”

For ticket prices, concert times and more information, visit the festival’s newly launched website at www.okmozart.com.