The focus is on golf in Tulsa, but up the road, in Bartlesville, it's music. The annual OK Mozart Festival is underway, with a full program of concerts and showcase events. KOTV's Glenda Silvey has the story from Bartlesville.
The Solisti New York orchestra conducted by Ransom Wilson rehearsed the 1812 Overture for one of OK Mozart's most popular events, the Woolaroc outdoor concert. In its 17th year, the festival returns many favorite artists, including violinist Itzhak Perlman. Showcase events include an exhibition by Tulsa painter P.S. Gordon, this year's featured artist. But there's something distinctly different about this year's festival. It's the last for co-founder Nan Buhlinger, who's retiring. She took her cue from comments opera singer Beverly Sills made at last year's festival. "She talked a lot about quitting and stopping her career at the right time, and what felt right. Many people thought she did it too soon. But I decided to retire before people wanted to dig my fingers off the desk." Besides full concerts with solo artists, OK Mozart offers a chamber music series it plans to expand next year.
This year's program highlights 'Turn of the Century' violin superstar Fritz Kreisler. Chamber music director Paul Neubauer says Kreisler was the first to use vibrato on the violin, forever changing the way stringed instruments were played. "So we're celebrating him. That's what it's all about. Plus of course that guy what's his name? Mozart. Yeah. We're doing a lot of Mozart here." Neubauer is among some of the nation's top classical artists who say they love performing at OK Mozart for many reasons, namely appreciative audiences. "You go any place in this town, and people come up and say, 'Oh, we heard the concert and it was so wonderful to hear the music and your playing.' You don't get that in New York City, let me tell you. Doesn't happen that way there."
Buhlinger says OK Mozart was a dream that materialized for her and Wilson, but she's ready to let go, and watch from the audience as it climbs to new heights. OK Mozart continues through Sunday at the Bartlesville Community Center.
For concert and ticket information, call 918-336-9800.