When the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University officially opens to the public Friday, it will put its first audiences into a New York state of mind.

The New York Philharmonic will be in residence at the center for the opening weekend, presenting four public concerts – including two featuring Oklahoma native and Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara, and a young people’s concert for local first and second grade students – and numerous master classes for OSU music students.

The McKnight Center is the newest addition to the OSU campus – a 65,000-square-foot facility that houses two state-of-the-art performance spaces as well as an adjacent outdoor plaza that sports a 32-foot LED screen and a surround-sound system that will allow performances to be simulcast in real time.

And the New York Philharmonic’s presence as the principal guest artist for the center’s opening weekend is an example of what sets this particular arts venue apart from similar facilities.

Get a look inside the center in this gallery and read the story by James D. Watts Jr. on Sunday.