Candlelighters dressed in Mozartian era costumes start the Festival with the traditional candlelighting Photo courtesy OK Mozart International Festival
OK Mozart International Festival
The OK Mozart International festival came to
life in 1985 in the small, but sophisticated town of
Bartlesville, near Tulsa. Within nine years the festival was
heralded around the world as a major musical event, presenting
renown concert artists.
In 1983, flutist Ransom Wilson and the chamber
orchestra, Solisti New York, which he founded in 1980, stopped in
Bartlesville for a performance during its midwest tour. The
musicians were delighted to discover a charming town with a
magnificent performing arts building that contained one of
America's finest acoustic concert halls. Designed by William Wesley
Peters, chief architect of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's
Taliesen West, the Community Center and its 1,800-seat concert hall
had opened in 1982.
Wilson told Nan Buhlinger, a Bartlesville musician
and community leader, his dream of establishing a Mozart festival
in rural America. Within two years, they presented the first OK
Mozart festival, with the Solisti New York as its resident chamber
orchestra during the two-week event.
The festival's "masters chamber series" has featured
outstanding instrumentalists, which have included Itzak Perlman,
Misha Dichter, Anne-Marie McDermott, James Galway, Pinchas
Zuckerman, Paul Neubauer, Andre Watts, and Robin Sutherland. The
festival also has commissioned works and held many musical premiers
by world renown composers and musicians, such as Peter Schickele
and Jean-Michel Damasse.
Each season the festival presents outdoor opening
ceremonies with a free concert and fireworks. For two weeks in
June, both orchestral concerts and chamber music are performed in
the Community Center's outdoor amphitheater, at a historic ranch
and nature preserve, a downtown church, and at Wright-designed
Price Tower. During the festival, more than 100 tours, workshops,
and exhibitions fill non-concert hours.
OK Mozart established and maintains a special
relationship with Salzburg, Austria, birthplace of Mozart, which
inspires artistic exchange and ambiance for the festival. During
the festival, special European style bistros are open, and a
Festival Art Gallery shows classic-style art in harmony with the
Mozartian era, often loaned by museums, and provides related
Documentation includes a 12-page report; 15 slides; a
CD of 1993 festival highlights; a video featuring TV festival
coverage; several issues of the festival newsletter; magazine and
newspaper articles; festival logos; poster ads; buttons and
Originally submitted by: Ernest J. Istook, Representative (5th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.