Signature Symphony’s future can be found by looking at its past year

This past year was a busy one for the TCC Signature Symphony. And there are many fun events coming up in 2024. But of course, the cliché is true – in order to look forward, we must first look back. With that in mind, here are some memorable Signature Symphony events from 2023.

Top of the list is “Tulsa Sings! American Jukebox,” a concert held in April. As you may recall, in a historic move, Andrea Bar won both the Judges’ Pick and Audience Favorite awards. As the Tulsa Sings! winner, she also performed at the Signature Symphony’s Christmas concert in mid-December.

The seven Tulsa Sings! finalists performed with the Signature Symphony at the “American Jukebox” concert in April 2023. With Andrea Bar (sitting, second from right), who won the competition with her performance of “Skyfall,” are (l-r) Ashton Jones, Trent Taber, Olivia Fu, (clockwise from bottom left) Bar, Rachel Miller, Michelle Eiler, and Brock Ryne. (Photo courtesy of Signature Symphony website)

Another memorable event was the Signature Symphony “Bluegrass to Bohemia” concert in September. It featured violinist Tessa Lark, who performed her 2020 Grammy-nominated concerto “Sky.” The bluegrass-inspired concerto, which was written for her by her friend and composer Michael Torke, featured three movements: “Lively,” “Wistful,” and “Spirited.” The sounds of the concerto go from light and active to calm and lyrical, before ending with a lively exchange between the violin soloist and the orchestra. 

Tessa Lark, who performed with the Signature Symphony in September 2023, combines classical violin and the fiddling of Kentucky, where she is from, in her masterful playing. (Photo by Sam Levrault)

Lark, who studied at the New England Conservatory and the Julliard School, made her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra when she was 16. Her belief in music’s power to foster global connection and communicate across boundaries manifests itself in what have been called her “genre-defying collaborations.” 

For instance, she and her fiancé, Michael Thurber, recently recorded “Invention,” the debut album for their violin-bass duo, Lark and Thurber. The album includes Lark and Thurber’s non-classical original compositions and their rendition of Two-Part Inventions by J. S. Bach. 

Conductor Scott Seaton leads the Signature Symphony through melodies with shared themes at the “Bluegrass to Bohemia” concert. (Photo by Sam Levrault)

At the concert, the Signature Symphony also performed Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C Minor” and Antonín Dvořák’s “Symphony No. 8 in G Major.” The latter composition included four movements, with the titles “Allegro con brio,” “Adagio,” “Allegro grazioso,” and “Allegro ma non troppo.”  

These movements take the listener through a series of serious and lively melodies inspired by Dvořák’s native Bohemia, which is now the Czech Republic. This symphony also includes bits and pieces from Dvořák’s other works, like his “Slavonic Dances” and his comic opera, “The Stubborn Lovers.” 

Aside from the usual concerts, the Signature Symphony also held some special events last year. One of these was a free open-house event in October for the Seedling Symphony. The theme was “Astronaut Scout Discovers Flight,” and it featured hands-on musical and aerospace activities. Led by Signature Quartet musicians, along with early childhood professionals, kids ages six and under were introduced to the intricate sounds of orchestral music.  

Signature Symphony’s Seedling Symphony program holds free events twice a year, where children can learn about brass, percussion, and string instruments. (Photo courtesy of Signature Symphony)

As Erica Parker, music instructor and Signature Quartet cellist, said, “Not only does Seedling Symphony bring a high level of music education to early childhood, but it also teaches motor skills and social skills.” 

For more information about the Seedling Symphony, visit symphony or the program’s Facebook page

Now here are the Signature Symphony concerts to look forward to in 2024! The first concert, called “Inspirations,” was on Jan. 27. It included an adaptation of the ardent opera “Carmen” and an homage to the composer Thomas Tallis. 

The January concert “Inspirations” included a performance by the Tulsa Youth Symphony and featured conductor Scott Seaton on the saxophone. (Photo courtesy of Signature Symphony website)

A symphony can hardly play music for very long without bumping into one of the great composers. Hence, the March 2 concert titled “Inevitable Beethoven.” The entire program consists of music either written or inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven.

 All musical theater fans – and fans of local singers – should be on the lookout for the sixth Tulsa Sings! concert, “Best of Broadway,” scheduled for April 6. The 10 Tulsa Sings! finalists will sing their way through Broadway’s greatest hits, accompanied by the Signature Symphony. It promises to be a great show, so don’t wait “One Day More” to buy your tickets. 

To purchase tickets for the concerts, click here

If the Signature Symphony had a New Year’s resolution, it seems like it would be to continue providing Tulsa with opportunities to hear and learn about music. And it looks like that goal will be accomplished! 

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