It’s been 35 years since a touring orchestra from New York City visited the city of Bartlesville — a chance meeting that led to the creation of one of the state’s longest-lived music festivals, OK Mozart.

What began as a classical music event that brought to Oklahoma such artists as Itzhak Perlman, Leontyne Price, Joshua Bell and Jean-Pierre Rampal has evolved over time to present a more diverse bill of artistic fare — from jazz and bluegrass, to film and live theater.

Two years ago, the festival renamed itself OKM Music, as a reflection of this more eclectic approach to programming.

“This year’s lineup reflects the community’s desire to hear excellent entertainment from multigenre performing artists,” said Mary Lynn Mihm, chairman of the OKM Music board of directors. “We have jazz, bluegrass, Red Dirt country, indie pop, Celtic folk, rock ’n’ roll, brass and, of course, classical.”

A good portion of those musical styles will be featured in the festival’s opening day, Friday, June 8. It begins at 3 p.m. with a free street party outside the Bartlesville Community Center, 300 S.E. Adams Blvd., featuring a variety of food, children’s activities, games and performances by artists with Oklahoma and Bartlesville roots, including vocalist Anne Reburn, the duo Breakup, Stillwater singer-songwriter Isaac McClung and folk group the Arcadian Wild, featuring Bartlesville’s Paige Park on violin.

That evening, the center will open for a 7 p.m. concert featuring country singer-songwriter Phil Vassar, who is currently on his “Hitsteria” tour, where he will be performing such songs as “Just Another Day in Paradise,” “Six-Pack Summer” and “When I Love You.” Opening for Vassar will be Bartlesville-based Brent Giddens Band. Tickets are $40-$80.

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Arielle, whose abilities on the self-made six-string electric guitar she plays has earned the respect of such musicians as Vince Gill and Brian May, will headline the 6 p.m. Sunday, June 9, concert at Sooner Park, at the corner of Madison and Tuxedo boulevards. Opening act will be Celtic band The Gothard Sisters. Tickets are $25-$55.

Duo pianists Elena Martin and Jose Meliton will perform in a recital featuring some of Martin’s original compositions at 11 a.m. Monday, June 10, at the Bartlesville Community Center. Tickets are $15.

The lone orchestral concert of the festival will be “An Evening with Mozart,” performed by the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Ron Spigelman. The concert, set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 10, at the Bartlesville Community Center, will feature the Overture to “Don Giovanni,” the Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major and the Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Minor. Tickets are $30-$70.

Best known as the band that has supported actor-comedian Steve Martin in his bluegrass excursions, the Steep Canyon Rangers will take the OKM Music stage for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 11. Tickets are $40-$80.

Acclaimed pianist Jenny Lin will perform her “Glass Reflections” concert, featuring music by Philip Glass, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, at the Bartlesville High School PAC, 1700 Hillcrest Drive.

Canadian ensemble Quartetto Gelato, led by vocalist and violinist Peter de Sotto, returns to Bartlesville at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at the Bartlesville Community Center. This eclectic group of violin, clarinet, cello and accordion performs everything from classical quartets to Gypsy dances, Neopolitan songs and Celtic reels. Tickets are $40-$80.

The festival concludes with the traditional Woolaroc Outdoor Concert, which this year will feature the Dallas Brass, which combines the traditional brass quintet with drums and percussion to perform a wide range of music, along with the Modern Oklahoma Jazz Orchestra, featuring pianist Donald Ryan. Fireworks will close out the concert. Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday, June 14, at Woolaroc, 1925 Woolaroc Ranch Road. Tickets are $30-$35.

OKM Music’s Festival Showcase for 2019, which in years past was made up of 80 to 100 events, will consist of five, free daytime concerts held at various locations in Bartlesville and two ticketed events — a “Music in the Saloon” concert featuring Bill and Rosie Caswell at Prairie Song, 402621 W. 1600 Road in Dewey; and an English Cottage Tea hosted by local storyteller Dianne Ferris. Tickets for “Music in the Saloon” and the Cottage Tea are $30 each.

Children’s activities will be held June 10-14 at various locations, featuring storytelling, music, magic acts and more.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit

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James D. Watts Jr.


Twitter: watzworld

Scene Writer

James writes primarily about the visual, performing and literary arts. Phone: 918-581-8478