NORMAN — A new philharmonic orchestra that debuted in Norman on Sunday is the fulfillment of a longtime dream of director Richard Zielinski.
“I feel very privileged, very honored and very humbled that this has come about,” he said.
Zielinski conducted the 38-member Norman Philharmonic before a standing-room-only crowd at the Nancy O'Brien Performing Arts Center. The performance also was the debut of a commissioned anthem and three-part symphony written especially for Norman by composer Libby Larsen.
Larsen incorporated elements of Norman's history and images from Norman's flag into the anthem, which was per
Zielinski said he hopes the anthem will serve as a unifying element for the city and the orchestra.
“It's so important to make music accessible,” he said. “I've long thought a city the size of Norman should have its own orchestra.”
The orchestra is not meant to compete with Oklahoma City's orchestra, but to bring to Norman musical opportunities “that you just don't have without a philharmonic orchestra,” Zielinski said.
He said the orchestra's goal is to have four or more public concerts a year.
The next performance is set for 3 p.m. April 15 when the orchestra will perform the complete version of Joseph Haydn's oratorio “Die Schopfung” or “The Creation.”
Zielinski said he still has not come down from the thrill of Sunday's performance.
“It just went so well,” he said. “It was a beautiful way to debut this orchestra. I really felt like the stars were aligned for us.”
A committee began about a year ago working on putting together an orchestra, Zielinski said.
“The community just really got behind it, and it came together,” he said. “It's the fulfillment of a dream of mine.”
The orchestra per
“At a time when the arts are declining in some cities, this is something really special happening in Norman,” Zielinski said.
The orchestra will serve as an educational tool for the school system and provide a way for young performers to promote their talents, Zielinski said.
“It's unlimited what we can do with our own orchestra,” he said.