Oklahoma City Philharmonic
The Oklahoma City Philharmonic is the most prominent performing orchestra in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is the capital and the largest city in the state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 31st among United States cities in population. The city's population, from the 2010 census, was 579,999, with a metro-area population of 1,252,987 . In 2010, the Oklahoma...

, and its environs.


The first Oklahoma City orchestra was formed as early as 1924. The Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1938 with Ralph Rose conducting its inaugural season. During the 1940s, 50s and 60s, under conductors Victor Alessandro and Guy Fraser Harrison, the Oklahoma Symphony became known nationally and even internationally by a regular series of radio broadcasts on the Mutual Broadcasting System
Mutual Broadcasting System
The Mutual Broadcasting System was an American radio network, in operation from 1934 to 1999. In the golden age of U.S. radio drama, MBS was best known as the original network home of The Lone Ranger and The Adventures of Superman and as the long-time radio residence of The Shadow...

 and the Voice of America
Voice of America
Voice of America is the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. It is one of five civilian U.S. international broadcasters working under the umbrella of the Broadcasting Board of Governors . VOA provides a wide range of programming for broadcast on radio...

, listened to by American troops abroad.

In 1988, when the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra was disbanded, Joel Levine successfully founded the Oklahoma City Philharmonic with the help of a great many people—a number of culturally-minded civic leaders, the newly incorporated OKC Orchestra League, and grants from five major Oklahoma corporations (Oklahoma Gas & Electric
Oklahoma Gas & Electric
Oklahoma Gas & Electric is a regulated electric utility company that serves over 750,000 customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas. On December 9, 2007 OG&E experienced the worst power outage in Oklahoma history with over 250 thousand customers without power and over 630 thousand state wide...

, Oklahoma Publishing Company, Southwestern Bell
Southwestern Bell
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T. It does business as AT&T Southwest and other d/b/a names in its operating region.The company is currently headquartered in Dallas, Texas at One AT&T Plaza.-History:...

, Kerr McGee, and First Interstate Bank. Levine is the music director and conductor of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and continues to lead the state’s largest performing-arts organization.

In September 2001, the OKC Philharmonic opened its season in the newly renovated Civic Center Music Hall
Civic Center Music Hall
The Civic Center Music Hall is a performing arts center located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was founded in 1937 and includes the Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre, the Freede Little Theatre, CitySpace, the Meinders Hall of Mirrors and the Joel Levine Rehearsal Hall.The Civic Center Music...

. One of the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS), this $52.2 million renovation saw the complete reconstruction of the performance chamber into the Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theater. The theater design was changed from a concert hall into a Broadway theater house while maintaining state-of-the-art acoustics in any configuration.
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