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Musicians Launching New Tulsa Orchestra

By Vivien Schweitzer
22 Dec 2005

Tulsa has been without a fulltime orchestra since the demise of the Tulsa Philharmonic in September 2002. But Tim McFadden, director of the new Tulsa Symphony, hopes to change that.

The new orchestra is the brainchild of retired neurosurgeon Frank Letcher, a board member for the Tulsa Opera, who worked closely with the defunct Philharmonic.

McFadden is working to raise $1 million by January 1 to jump start the new ensemble. He told Playbillarts that he is optimistic that the money will be raised and is hoping the orchestra will be up and running in time for a February performance of Sleeping Beauty with the Tulsa Ballet.

The plans include hiring 60 to 70 musicians. Former members of the defunct Tulsa Philharmonic are being contacted first. If positions cannot be filled that way, auditions will be held.

Unusually, the musicians will be responsible for all aspects of governance, including marketing and fundraising. The orchestra will have a staff, but musicians will be expected to chip in and help with day-to-day operations. Thirty percent of the orchestra’s income will be generated by the musicians themselves through fundraising. McFadden says musicians are ready to expand their work descriptions, citing one violinist who was recently sent to a grant writing seminar in Las Vegas.

The new musicians' contract, which was unanimously approved, contains no restrictions regarding work hours. McFadden, who was principal trumpet of the Tulsa Philharmonic and will also play in the new orchestra, says musicians will work the “amount necessary to get the job done.”

The Tulsa Philharmonic folded on September 12, 2002, due to precarious financial conditions.




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