BSO History

The Bartlesville Symphony

The Bartlesville Symphony is a treasured cultural jewel in Northeast Oklahoma. Under the direction of Maestro Lauren Green for the past 37 seasons, this community/professional orchestra in a town of 35,000 has created for itself a unique niche in the cultural offerings of the region and in the symphonic world beyond.

Now in its sixth decade, the Bartlesville Symphony continues to present a wide range of concerts in a world-famous multi-million dollar hall, often with world-class soloists, while still retaining its unique community-centered feel and orientation. The Bartlesville Symphony is a cordial mix of volunteer and paid musicians, some of whom have been with the symphony since its very earliest of days, and most of whom have participated in the symphony for 10 years or more.

The symphony generally rehearses on a weekly basis and presents a season of six subscription concerts. A variety of soloists are featured on these concerts, ranging from orchestra members and young competition winners to internationally-acclaimed artists. The symphony, under Green’s direction, has become well known for finding ways to break out of the traditional symphony concert “box” while still maintaining the integrity of the music and the art.

The Bartlesville Symphony often performs several additional concerts during the year beyond their regular season, and also recently appeared several times as part of the OK Mozart International Festival, held each June, most recently opening the 2010 OKM season with the world premiere of the “Ludwig Project”, a complete reworking of the entirety of Beethoven’s Third and Sixth Symphonies, featuring the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and orchestra all under Lauren Green’s direction. This acclaimed performance was recorded for CD and DVD release.

The symphony’s concert repertoire has run the gamut of eras and styles. Major works such as Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Stravinsky’s Firebird, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 3, and countless others have been heard under Green’s direction. Additionally, the work of contemporary composers has not been ignored, as the symphony has been involved not only in the performance of a number of recent works, but also in the commissioning and premiere of several, most recently including William Bolcolm’s Concerto Grosso and José Raul Bernardo’s Taliesin Symphony.

The symphony is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of community leaders, symphony supporters and several orchestra players. Randi Jo Williams serves as the symphony’s Director of Development and D’Lynn Everett serves as General Manager. In addition to these two paid positions, the symphony employs its Music Director and its Concertmaster on annual contract.

The Bartlesville Symphony Foundation enhances the long range funding of the symphony. Governed by a separate Board of Trustees, the Foundation is already well on its way to raising its initial funding of two million dollars.

While not immune from the challenges currently facing the arts world, and symphonies in particular, the Bartlesville Symphony’s performance standards have continued to excel and grow while the symphony’s solid base of community support and enthusiastic response has maintained the organization. Generous funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council, along with local funding from businesses and individuals, helps to assure continuation of the tradition of excellence and excitement which is so synonymous with The Bartlesville Symphony.

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