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Press Releases

Tulsa Symphony Orchestra to Perform Beethoven's Symphony #9 at ONEOK Field

April 7, 2021 | By Richard Kessel
Director of Revenue

Tulsa Symphony Orchestra to Perform Beethoven's Symphony #9 at ONEOK Field

TULSA, Oklahoma –The Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will take the stage to perform Beethoven's magnificent Symphony #9 on Friday, May 14, at 7:30 pm. ONEOK Field will once again be transformed into an open-air concert hall and will feature the full orchestra, chorus and renowned guest soloists Ryan Speedo Green, Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee and Wendy Bryn Harmer. Before the performance, there will be instrument demonstrations for families by TSO Musicians. This spectacular evening will culminate in a celebratory fireworks display.

Since the inaugural performance of the Symphony on May 7, 1824, it has been heard around the world at celebrations and events of monumental proportions. The most memorable in recent times was when Leonard Bernstein conducted the piece at the Schauspielhaus in East Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Beethoven set the 9th Symphony to a poem written in 1785 by Friedrich Schiller, the "Ode to Joy," which takes on particular relevance as the pandemic subsides. The poem represents the triumph of humanity against war and desperation.  In this case, it characterizes the battle against an unseen but deadly foe.

Renowned conductor Gerhardt Zimmermann, who has conducted numerous prominent orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony and many others, will lead the TSO in this spectacular program.  Zimmermann said, "Friedrich Schiller's "Ode to Joy" is a celebratory poem addressing the coming together of all humanity. After a violent and tumultuous opening to the 4th movement,  we hear the bass-baritone sing:  "O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!" ("O friends, no more of these sounds!"... Let us sing more cheerful songs,  More songs full of joy! Joy! Joy!)  This  "Ode to Joy" addresses man's inhumanity towards man.  Beethoven is the first composer to address the issue of social injustice truly.   It is an outcry for peace, love and understanding. Beethoven's music, along with Schiller's words, resounds as much today  as when it was first performed nearly two hundred years ago."

Keith C. Elder, Executive Director of the Tulsa Symphony, added, "We are proud to bring the people of Tulsa together to help celebrate this moment when the struggles of the past year begin to fade.  We will mark this time by performing one of the most renowned pieces of orchestral music, which takes on special significance to our community, state, country and the world.  Additionally, we are excited to have begun our season with Beethoven's Piano Concerto #3 at ONEOK, and we're proud to bring it to an exciting close with the mighty Symphony #9. Portions of this performance are made possible by grants from the Flint Family Foundation and Vision Arts.

For further information or to reserve seats, go to or email




The Tulsa Symphony Orchestra is a vital community service organization that entertains, advocates, heals and inspires through musical excellence, innovation, and collaboration.  Serving as the cornerstone of the arts in Tulsa, the TSO partners and collaborates with Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Chorale, Philbrook Museum, Gilcrease Museum and Oklahoma Aquarium. A leader in classical music and music education, TSO presents over 30 major performances per season, which touch over 55,000 people in the Northeast Oklahoma region. At the forefront of the Orchestra is artistic integrity, collaborating with renowned artists such as Joshua Bell, Amy Grant, Eric Whitacre, Yefim Bronfman, and Hanson.  For additional information about TSO, please visit our website at





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