Ainslee Cox :: Music Director 1974-1978

Chosen from an overwhelming number of contenders from around the world, Ainslee Cox was not only an American conductor but also a Texan. The young protégée of Leopold Stokowski was the associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic and was selected from a group of five final candidates for the position.

Cox joined an organization that was facing severe financial challenges. Problems with the business structure of the Symphony, contract issues, the lack of an endowment and other obstacles were compounded by the audience’s disinterest in some of the contemporary programming that Cox selected for the main concert series.

The organization was re-named The Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra in 1975 in an effort to align the name with the statewide mission. The Women’s Committee presented the first Symphony Show House as an innovative fundraiser in 1974; and it grew in popularity each successive year. However, in spite of the dedication of the leadership, the volunteers and the musicians, the orchestra’s achievements were overshadowed by the growing accumulated deficit and the economic woes of the region. Attendance began to falter and the board of directors looked for a new energy on the podium to revive the Symphony’s community position.