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The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts

New York Philharmonic to open OSU’s McKnight Center with Broadway’s Kelli O’Hara

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The New York Philharmonic will kick off The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts' inaugural season during a three-day series of performances beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11. The weekend’s performances will feature the world-renowned symphony orchestra under the direction of Philharmonic music director Jaap van Zweden with special appearances by concertmaster Frank Huang and Kelli O’Hara, an Oklahoma native and award-winning Broadway actress and singer. 

The McKnight Center is the result of a unified vision to create a new cultural epicenter in Stillwater. In 2016, Oklahoma State University alums Billie and Ross McKnight gave $25 million to establish an endowment to support world-class programming at the center. The New York Philharmonic’s residency runs Oct. 11-Oct. 14 and will include performances, educational master classes and lectures.

“Oklahoma State University has long anticipated the opening of The McKnight Center, which will be an epicenter for impressive talent and an expression of Oklahoma State University’s commitment to the arts,” OSU President Burns Hargis said. “I look forward to this weekend's series of exceptional events and experiences. There is no better way to kick off our season than with the extraordinary talent of The New York Philharmonic."

“The New York Philharmonic’s residency is particularly special because not only does it demonstrate our center’s ability to host remarkable talent, but it’s also full of learning opportunities for the surrounding community,” said Mark Blakeman, Marilynn and Carl Thoma Executive Director of the McKnight Center. “From an open dress rehearsal for Oklahoma State’s Greenwood School of Music students to a young person’s concert for Stillwater Public Schools first- and second-graders to 16 master classes led by elite performers and educators, this residency showcases The McKnight Center’s mission to make a transformative impact throughout the region.”

“It’s inspiring to see a vision become a reality, especially when that vision centers on championing the arts for future generations,” said Deborah Borda, president and CEO of the New York Philharmonic. “We know that residency partnerships benefit the regional community, faculty and, of course, the students, but it’s also true that these types of partnerships invigorate the New York Philharmonic’s musicians and management, especially since the center provides an opportunity for our musicians to engage with the audience in a much more intimate setting.”

Tickets for Friday's gala performance are still available. For more information about the center’s inaugural season performances and the New York Philharmonic's residency, visit or call 405-744-9999.


Well Content


• Time/date: 6 p.m. Oct. 11
• Dress code: The gala concert is a black-tie affair.
• Street closures: West University Avenue between Hester and Washington streets will close from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday.

On the program:
“Academic Festival Overture” (Johannes Brahms)
“Summer of 1915” w/ Kelli O’Hara (Samuel Barber)
“Symphony No. 5” (Ludwig van Beethoven)

On the big screen:

The show will be simulcast for the public on the 32-foot LED board in The McKnight Center plaza. Concert goers on the plaza are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Outdoor space is limited and is first come, first served.
After-show dinner — The OSU Alumni Association will host a dinner provided by TS Fork at the Alumni Center. The four-course dinner, prepared by chef Dustin and chef Jeff, both OSU graduates, will be from 8:30-9:45 p.m. Click here to see the menu and register.

MEDIA CONTACT | Katy Fabrie | 918-470-4994 |

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