The Norman Transcript

September 13, 2013

Norman Philharmonic kicks off a new season

by Hannah Cruz
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The Norman Philharmonic is heating up its third season in a big way with its upcoming 3 p.m. Sept. 15 concert at the Nancy O’Brian Center for Performing Arts, 1809 N. Stubbeman Ave.

Titled “Meet the Composer — John Mackey,” the event highlights work by American composer John Mackey. Norman Phil Music and Artistic Director Richard Zielinski describes Mackey’s compositions as exciting, rhythmic and driving.

“He’s real hot right now,” Zielinski said.

Mackey’s work has been performed around the world in venues like the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, the Joyce Theater and more. He holds a bachelor’s from Cleveland Institute of Music and a master’s from The Juilliard School.

Three of Mackey’s pieces, “Harvest,” “Antiphonal Dances” and “Redline Tango,” are included on the program.

Members of Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, the University of Oklahoma’s modern dance company, are performing to “Antiphonal Dances,” with Austin Hartel as the director and Derrick Minter as the choreographer.

Mackey’s work will be contrasted with a variety of music including Morton Gould’s “American Salute,” and Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” Joseph Haydn’s “Sinfonia Concertante,” will be performed with soloists Lisa Harvey-Reed on oboe, Rod Ackermann on bassoon, Michael Sutton on violin and Valerie Tatge on cello. Libby Larsen’s “Norman Anthem,” originally composed in 2012 for the Phil’s inaugural season, also will be performed.

The varied program meets the Phil’s goals of providing diverse, innovative programming to excite youth and the public about symphonic music, Zielinski said.

“We’ve stayed very much focused on our mission,” he said. “Which is to bring American music, support American composers and then produce a variety of music.”

Mackey is sharing insight into the creation of his work during two, free educational concerts for all ages 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Nancy O’Brian Center for Performing Arts.


“Meet the Composer - John Mackey” is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts, 1809 N. Stubbeman Ave. All tickets are $10 general admission and can be purchased at the door.

The concert includes three of Mackey’s compositions, “Harvest,” “Antiphonal Dances” and “Redline Tango.” Other pieces on the program include Morton Gould’s “American Salute,” Joseph Haydn’s “Sinfonia Concertante,” Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” and Libby Larsen’s “Norman Anthem.”

Two free educational concerts for all ages are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts, 1809 N. Stubbeman Ave. During the concerts Mackey will give the audience insight into his compositions.

For more information visit For more information on Mackey visit

Norman Phil history

The Norman Philharmonic began as an idea in 2011 to create a professional orchestra of area musicians that foster community growth.

As ideas flourished, Artistic and Music Director Richard Zielinski began to form goals that Norman’s orchestra could reflect the dynamics and intricacies of Norman.

The ultimate goal of the orchestra is simple, Zielinski said: to offer innovative, standard-setting chamber music, to commission new works from American composers, excite the youth of Oklahoma about symphonic music, and establish Norman as the center of excellence in the arts in Oklahoma.

The Phil started with a bang in Jan. 2012.

January 2012

The philharmonic performs its inaugural concert to a standing-room only audience with more than 1,000 music lovers in attendance at the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts.

The 41-person professional chamber orchestra, led by Zielinski, performs a diverse program including classical and jazz pieces. Also, Grammy-award winning American composer Libby Larsen debuts an anthem and symphony commissioned by the philharmonic.

The two pieces reflect the history and culture of the City of Norman. Larsen based the anthem’s lyrics off of the E.E. Dale poem “The Prairie Schooner.” She found inspiration for the three-movement symphony “Symphony: Forward,” from the symbols of the city’s flag.

Larsen also participates in several educational assemblies to teach Norman School District students and other community members about her creative process.

April 2012

The Norman Philharmonic, in conjunction with University of Oklahoma Choirs and members of the Oklahoma Festival Ballet, performs Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” with ballet for the first time in America.

Though the dress rehearsal and first performance were canceled because of tumultuous weather, the final performance at OU’s Sharp Concert Hall goes on without a hitch.

A total of 19 dancers perform to narration — derived from the books of Genesis and Psalms, as well as John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” — about the timeless account of the Old Testament story.

August 2012

A touring company composed of musicians and dancers performs “The Creation” at a Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria.

November 2012

Titled “A Simple Gift,” the philharmonic’s Nov. 2012 concert benefits Food And Shelter, Inc., with the ultimate goal of raising sufficient funds to provide 500 nights of shelter for those in need.

Though ticket sales went towards the fundraiser, money and food donations are also accepted during the concert, held at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church.

The winner of the philharmonic’s Christmas Carol Competition debuts their piece during the concert.

January 2013

Grammy Award-winning American composer Michael Daugherty’s work is featured at the philharmonic’s one-year anniversary concert.

The concert, titled “Meet the Composer - Michael Daugherty,” highlights three of Daugherty’s pieces as well as a variety of classical favorites at the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts. The end of the event includes a performance of “Norman Anthem.”