Pianist and entertainer Barron Ryan will be a guest artist during the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra’s season opener Saturday, when jazz blends with orchestral pop favorites. The “Big Band Bonanza” will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Bartlesville Community Center.


BSO Music Director/Conductor Lauren Green talks more about the concert and the BSO in general.


1 What can concert goers expect with this year’s BSO season lineup?


We have another great season of five live music experiences with something for everyone’s tastes. We have brilliant classical music of course, plus a concert of jazz crossover, and a rocking salute to 80’s pop! Our soloists will be very special, and of course the orchestral performances will be top notch.


2 Which concert are you especially looking forward to and why?


Of course that’s an impossible question! This Saturday’s concert is going to be spectacular, with some amazing jazz-infused music spanning many decades. We’ll even have a full Big Band onstage with the orchestra! But in March, for instance, we’ll have Rachmaninoff’s incredible Piano Concerto No. 2. It’s apples and oranges — they’re all delicious!


3 How many volunteer and professional musicians are involved with BSO?


The BSO is comprised of many musicians of many varieties. Depending upon the concert, we’ll have 60-70 players on stage who are a mix of local volunteers (including some students) and paid professionals who are either joining for just that concert or who have been with us regularly for years if not decades.


4 In what ways in BSO attracting new audience members?


Sharing the joy of a live orchestra with new audiences is both our mission and our greatest challenge. Audiences quickly experience the amazing variety of music that we perform, covering so many styles and genres, and busting so many stereotypes. But we also attempt to make the music as accessible as possible through affordable ticket prices, the up-close Upbeat sessions before concerts, and a general laid-back onstage approach. Once they try it, they’re hooked. It’s just a matter of getting people through the door!


5 What are some other programs BSO puts on throughout the year?


As we have every year, we just performed for 1,200 fifth graders from throughout our region, including Kansas. This concert will be taking on a new flavor next season as we team up with Carnegie Hall and area music teachers to implement Link Up, a music curriculum that will culminate in an interactive concert for the students. Additionally, our guest artists appear in the schools and other locations, and we are beginning a program for our orchestral musicians to get into the community even more.


— Emily Droege