Meet Lauren Green
As the Bartlesville Symphony enters another season, it does so under the direction of its popular long-time Music Director-Conductor Lauren Green. His 40 seasons in this post may not make one sit up and take notice until the breadth and depth of what he has achieved in this small midwestern town is fully understood.
Working largely away from the nation’s musical centers, Green has built a musical legacy enviable in any venue, large or small. Regularly performing with world-class soloists in a world-famous hall, his experience is on a par with, if not surpassing, more visible positions in larger cities. His passion, not only for the music, but also for the people making it and listening to it, creates a special experience out of each performance under his baton, whether one is present for the first time or for 35 seasons of concerts.
Lauren’s effectiveness on the podium has been enhanced by a diversity of musical experiences. He has successfully conducted orchestras ranging from fully professional symphonies to community and college organizations; from local high school ensembles to All-State Orchestras. His guest conducting engagements have taken him not only throughout Oklahoma but also to symphonies in states such as Michigan, Texas, Kansas, Montana and California.
Most recently he was asked to conduct the Tulsa Symphony Chamber players in music of Stravinsky and Walton, and in June 2010 conducted the world premiere of The Ludwig Project—a reworking of the entire Third and Sixth Symphonies of Beethoven featuring the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and The Bartlesville Symphony, performed to great acclaim on the opening concert of the 2010 OK Mozart International Festival and filmed for DVD release.
Lauren Green is noted not only for his abilities on the podium, guiding the orchestra and audience through exciting musical performances, but also for the unique way he creates concert experiences through innovative programming and accessible presentation. He is consistently able to combine standard, recognizable repertoire with the more unusual; carefully avoiding excessive over-familiarity in repertoire while not aggressively fostering a musical elitism that leaves audiences largely unsatisfied.
Structuring concerts in out-of-the-ordinary ways, providing verbal introductions which do not “lecture”, often utilizing guest soloists beyond the standard concerto, combining the known and the lesser-known, mixing media and genres in unusual ways; all these and more are part of the mix that have led to multiple standing ovations in single concerts, and more than the occasional audience member who has been moved to tears of deep emotion.
“The very essence of music is its humanity—the person that wrote it, the people making it, and those who are absorbing it. If any aspect is neglected, the music suffers. The most memorable performances are those when the teamwork of the conductor and orchestra meshes with the intent of the composer and, in turn, fully communicates with the audience in a way that is the most sincere, authentic and accessible. Whenever I step on the podium, this is my goal.”
Lauren Green grew up in Southern California, beginning cello studies with Eleonore Schoenfeld at a young age. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Redlands, continuing his studies with Schoenfeld through his Master’s Degree. His conducting studies include work with Herbert Blomstedt, Franco Autori and Jack Wilson, with additional studies with Laszlo Heltay, Carl St. Clair, and Samuel Jones.
In 1977 Green moved to Oklahoma, assuming the leadership of the Bartlesville Symphony with a total budget of $3000. In the ensuing seasons he has carefully nurtured the orchestra from those humble beginnings into an orchestra of surprising ability and stature, and his charismatic leadership continues to propel the orchestra to even greater musical heights. The orchestra’s budget and renown belie its high quality and ambitious schedule of performance, with concerts in a spectacular hall featuring world-class soloists and challenging repertoire ranging from the traditional to the delightfully unusual.
Green has also guest conducted the Topeka (KS) Symphony, Adrian (MI) Symphony, Glacier (Kalispell, MT) Symphony, Traverse (MI) Symphony, along with many church and educational ensembles, including the Oklahoma All-State Orchestra. His podium credits also include a number of Broadway and light opera productions. As cellist, Green performed as a member of Trio Brioso, a professional piano trio which concertized throughout the region. In recent years Green has returned to orchestral playing and is currently a regular member of both of Tulsa’s professional orchestras, the Tulsa Symphony and the Signature Symphony.
Prominent in the cultural affairs of city and state, Green is widely known as an active and admired spokesman for the symphony and the arts. In celebration of Green’s 30 years in Bartlesville, Governor Brad Henry declared October 6, 2007 as “Maestro Lauren Green Day” for the entire state of Oklahoma. In 1997 he received the highest award from the Bartlesville Arts and Humanities Council and was also named as one of Bartlesville’s “Centennial Heroes”.
His leading roles in dramatic productions, and his radio and television experience, including his work as Music Director of KCMA-FM, Tulsa’s commercial classical radio station, have made him a popular public figure. Green served for five years as Editor of Podium Notes, the quarterly newsletter of the Conductors Guild, an organization that serves conductors of all disciplines throughout the world. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Guild. Additionally, Green was formerly the Assistant Principal Cellist with the Tulsa Philharmonic and served for ten years as a full time music professor at Bartlesville Wesleyan College and for twelve years as the Director of Music Ministries at 1700-member East Cross United Methodist Church in Bartlesville.
His wife, Juanita, is herself a highly skilled musician and teacher, with a diverse career in and out of music. She taught both vocal and instrumental music, grades K-12 and was also a Therapeutic Specialist with the pharmaceutical company Sunovion, Inc. for many years. She is currently the Development Director for Bartlesville’s Frank Lloyd Wright skyscraper, The Price Tower Arts Center. Lauren and Juanita have two grown children, Elizabeth and Daniel.