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Oklahoma State University

OSU extends partnership with Tulsa Symphony Orchestra

Mon, March 20, 2017
OSU extends partnership with Tulsa Symphony Orchestra

A unique program that gives graduate music students at Oklahoma State University the opportunity to gain professional experience by playing main stage concerts with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has been renewed. 

The OSU Department of Music and TSO recently announced the renewal, which will also give the five string students involved (two violins, one viola, one bass, and one cello) professional training with the orchestra while they pursue their Master of Music degree at OSU. 

Financial support, provided by the Patti Johnson Wilson Foundation, makes the program possible at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center for a two-year span. Only one other program in the country has a similar partnership with a professional orchestra and OSU’s program was the first.

“It is invaluable for what we do as performers,” said Laura Talbott Clark, associate professor of violin and viola at OSU.  “Performing with the TSO greatly enhances the odds a student will land a job as a professional musician after graduation.” 

The program has increased in popularity since its inception four years ago with the number of student applicants doubling over the last two years. Interest in OSU’s Department of Music is expected to increase dramatically as well with the anticipated 2019 opening of OSU’s McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, and a residency with the New York Philharmonic scheduled that same year. 

“We are thrilled the TSO and the Patti Johnson Wilson Foundation have agreed to continue to support our graduate-level string students,” said Dr. Howard Potter, head of the Department of Music at OSU. 

The Patti Johnson Wilson Foundation Graduate Fellowship in String Orchestral Performance also provides each recipient with tuition waivers applied toward obtaining their master’s degree.

“Tulsa Symphony is proud to be the artistic performance partner and join forces with the OSU Graduate Music Program and the Patti Johnson Wilson Foundation to expand the scope of graduate education for orchestral string majors,” said Ron Predl, executive director of the TSO.  “We believe this innovative artistic and educational partnership may well become a model for other universities and orchestras to emulate across the country.”

The OSU Department of Music is committed to enriching lives through music education, performance and research.  With more than 100 years of heritage, the department presents more than 200 concerts, master classes, guest artist events, and student recitals that are open to the public and enjoyed by community residents as well as OSU faculty, staff, and students. The department offers 20 graduate degrees and each year welcomes participation from more than 2,000 non-music majors.