Want to experience the OK Mozart Festival's musical offerings without having to make the 125-mile drive to Bartlesville? For the first time in its 26-year history, the popular summer arts festival will offer encore presentations of four concerts at the Rose State College Performing Arts Theatre, 6420 SE 15 in Midwest City.
The Oklahoma City-area series opens Monday with a screening of the German expressionist film “Metropolis.” The Alloy Orchestra, a three-member instrumental ensemble, will provide live music for the 1927 silent film. Directed by Fritz Lang, “Metropolis” explores the social crisis between workers and owners in a capitalistic society.
The Turtle Island Quartet will present “An Evening of Jimi Hendrix” at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Named for mythology found in American Indian folklore, the Turtle Island Quartet has become known for its innovative approaches to chamber music for strings.
The Carolina Chocolate Drops, an ensemble that celebrates the musical heritage created by black musicians of the 1930s, will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The popular instrumental trio combines blues, country and black string band traditions.
Bringing the Oklahoma City-area series to a close on Father's Day is internationally known American violinist Joshua Bell. The 2 p.m. concert on Sunday, June 19, will feature Bell and the Amici New York Orchestra in Vieuxtemps' “Concerto No. 5 in A Minor” and Mozart's “Adagio in E Major, K. 261.”
Rich, warm sounds
Bell plays a 1713 Stradivarius known as the “ex-Huberman,” named for the Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman. Captivated by its rich, warm sound after playing it briefly in 2001, Bell sold his Tom Taylor Strad and bought the “ex-Huberman” for the princely sum of just under $4 million.
“I managed to secure payment for the instrument just three days before 9/11,” Bell said recently. “During the past 10 years, I've had my ups and downs with it — at the moment, it's not cooperating, so it's at the shop making sure one of the seams hasn't come open.”
Whenever a soloist acquires a new instrument, it's not unusual to spend several years learning about its strengths, weaknesses and tonal capabilities. Bell compares the process to working with a multicolored palette.
“It gives you so many possibilities,” Bell said of his Stradivarius. “You might be able to tear into the G string on one instrument, but it may lack a sweetness of tone. You learn new ways of making sounds as you grow with the instrument.”
This marks Bell's fourth OK Mozart appearance, having performed at the festival in 1992, 1995 and 2002. It's always a reunion of sorts because Bell has frequently played chamber music with many of the Amici New York Orchestra members.
“I always have a good time at OK Mozart because there's always a sense of celebrating the music,” Bell said. “Audiences seem to enjoy the festival because it's so relaxed. I've always felt it was a fun atmosphere, which is what listening to music should be in the summertime.”