Chamber Music Festival showcases future impact of The McKnight Center
By Amanda O'Toole Mason
The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts gave Oklahomans a first glimpse of its exciting programming with its inaugural Chamber Music Festival April 8-14. The Chamber Music Festival brought renowned chamber musicians to Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Stillwater under the artistic direction of famed pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. The musicians performed five concerts, including a family and youth concert, three intimate soiree performances across central Oklahoma and one free community concert at the Seretean Center. Programs included selections by Mozart, Gershwin, Beethoven and Dvorak.
Oklahoma State University students also got the chance to learn alongside the chamber musicians through masterclasses. Such opportunities, which are incredibly valuable to the students, help set the educational experience at the Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music apart from other institutions, said Thomas Lanners, professor of piano and keyboard area coordinator.
“What we're trying to do is have an enriched learning experience for students on OSU's campus and all of Oklahoma.”
“Anne-Marie McDermott’s piano masterclass was an inspiration to all who attended,” he said. “She made an indelible impression, combining an affable personality with intense musicianship, upon performers and listeners alike.”
Mark A. Blakeman, Marilynn and Carl Thoma Executive Director, said the Chamber Music Festival illustrates how The McKnight Center will go about fostering deep and meaningful experiences moving forward.
People can expect memorable and inspirational encounters every time they attend a McKnight Center event, said Blakeman, who added that it is a thrilling experience to bring great art into communities.
“The core of what we’re trying to do is have an enriched learning experience for students on OSU’s campus and all of Oklahoma, which is why we performed in Oklahoma City and Tulsa,” he said.
“This was a great way to demonstrate the level of artistry that we're going to bring on a consistent basis.”
"This was a great way to demonstrate the level of artistry that we're going to bring on a consistent basis."
Plans for the 2019 Chamber Music Festival are underway, with the events scheduled for Feb. 26 through March 3. McDermott, whose career spans more than 25 years as a soloist and collaborator, has agreed to return as artist director.
“The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts is physically a work in progress, but we get to create an organic momentum around music,” said McDermott, who has performed with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Dallas Symphony and the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, among many others. “We will continue building momentum with next year’s Chamber Music Festival and build upon the anticipation for when The McKnight Center is inaugurated.”
The McKnight Center, which is currently under construction, is expected to open during Homecoming weekend in October 2019 with a residency partnership with The New York Philharmonic. The McKnight Center is expected to announce its opening-season lineup sometime this winter.
“Our thanks go out to the many Patron donors who support The McKnight Center, OSU President Burns Hargis and the OSU administration, the OSU Foundation, and our business, corporate and individual donors who have given so much to make The McKnight Center and this inaugural Chamber Music Festival a reality,” Blakeman said. “They are ensuring we are successful in making The McKnight Center a vital, premier performing arts facility."