Contact: Mark Beutler (405) 232-7575
April 5, 2022
Oklahoma City Philharmonic Maestro to Lead California Music Festival
Oklahoma City Philharmonic’s Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate has been selected to lead this summer’s Bear Valley Music Festival.
The Festival takes place in Bear Valley, California, July 22 through August 7. Located 180 miles east of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada, the Festival is in its 54th year and Mickelthwate is only the fourth Music Director in its history.
“I’m so excited for my position as the new Music Director of the Bear Valley Music Festival,” Mickelthwate said. “Such wonderful and smart leadership. Such a stunning place. And to perform music with fantastic musicians in those surroundings, oh my gosh, what a treat!”
Mickelthwate succeeds Maestro Michael Morgan, who passed away in 2021 after serving eight seasons with the Festival.
 “I actually knew Michael quite well as he was a mentor of mine at the beginning of my career,” Mickelthwate added. “He was the one conductor I felt comfortable calling with questions. And he was always there with answers. So it is a special honor to stand on his shoulders and to continue his legacy in Bear Valley.”
Mickelthwate is in his third full season with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic where he’s built a reputation for creating uniquely tailored programs that draw in new audiences. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its artistic horizons; increased the number of onstage and city-wide collaborations; commissioned works commemorating significant events and anniversaries, and is currently completing its first-ever recording project with the international Naxos label.
 “Alexander stood out from the start as someone who had keen insights into the special opportunities and challenges that come with an outdoor music festival,” said Committee Chair and Board President Julia Mee. “He brought innovative programming ideas to us and really embraced the wide breadth of musical genres we feature in our summer festival. He has family ties to the area and is eager to enjoy beautiful Bear Valley with his wife and two sons. We couldn’t be more excited to have Alexander join us.”
Every year, the Bear Valley Music Festival draws thousands of attendees who will enjoy music from classical to rock to country to jazz.
“This is a thrilling development for Alexander and for our organization,” said Agnieszka Rakhmatullaev, Executive Director for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. “It is an honor to be able to share our Maestro and his unique talent with our West Coast friends at the Bear Valley Music Festival. And for those who may ask—this new summer engagement does not conflict with his role here in Oklahoma City. This is his hometown, and he will be back to kick off our 2022-23 Season on September 17!”