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The OK Mozart International Festival is an annual Bartlesville event held each June to honor the music of Austrian classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The festival was the brainchild of its artistic director, flutist and conductor Ransom Wilson. Activities are centered around the Bartlesville Community Center, a seventeen-hundred-seat auditorium designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé William Wesley Peters, which opened in 1982. Wilson and his chamber orchestra, Solisti New York (the event's orchestra in residence), debuted at the center in 1983 and were impressed by its acoustics. Wilson had envisioned creating a Mozart festival and discussed the idea with Gary Moore, the community center's managing director. Moore was receptive, as was Bartlesville Symphony director Nan Buhlinger. Their cooperative efforts resulted in the opening of the OK Mozart International Festival in June 1985.

The festival, which grew from a three-day to a nine-day event, has featured such acclaimed instrumentalists as Itzhak Perlman and Misha Dichter. Along with the concerts, musicals, and operas performed at the Bartlesville Community Center and other local venues, various "showcase events" are held around Bartlesville and in neighboring towns. These might include a lecture, a tour of the Price Tower, or a visit to downtown Pawhuska.

The OK Mozart International Festival has received national media attention and has been honored by the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation. Since 1991 the festival has been directed by the nonprofit organization OK Mozart, Inc.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: "International Mozart Festival," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Paul F. Lambert, Kenny A. Franks, and Margaret Withers Teague, Washington County: A Centennial History (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1999). Barbara Palmer, "Amadeus on the Prairie," Oklahoma Today 38 (June 1988).

Jon D. May

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