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OU Fine Arts News

The latest news about the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts.

Karl Sievers, 2017 Rothbaum Professor of Excellence

Karl Sievers


NORMAN – Nationally recognized musician and Professor of Music, Karl Sievers has been named the 2017 Irene and Julian J. Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts at the University of Oklahoma Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts.

At OU, in addition to teaching, Sievers has served as the area chair for the School of Music, as chair of the OU Compensation Committee, as a Faculty Senator to all brass and percussion performance majors, and he also has served on many master of music and doctor of musical arts committees.

Students of Sievers have been accepted in significant numbers into the best graduate programs in the United States. In the National Trumpet Competition, Sievers’ students won awards in every division, including masters solo, college solo, etude, jazz improvisation, brass quintet, and trumpet ensemble. The only schools in the nation with comparable achievements are Julliard and Northwestern.

Sievers has served as a member of the board of directors for one of the most important organizations of trumpeters in the world, the International Trumpet Guild. He also serves on the guild’s editorial committee as a jurist for the article selection process. Further, he was the general manager and on the advisory board for the International Trumpet Competition for 20 years.

In 2014, Sievers created and hosted the William Adam International Trumpet Festival from 2014 to 2016. He is an active guest artist/clinician, performing and teaching around the country with university, high school and middle school student groups. Closer to home, Sievers maintains a thorough performance schedule as a member of the OU Faculty Brass Quintet, as a soloist, and as Principal Trumpeter with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.

OU College of Fine Arts Welcomes Adrian Fung

Adrian Fung

NORMAN, OK; June 2, 2017 - Adrian Fung, who is recognized as one of Musical America’s 30 Innovators of the Year, has been named associate dean for the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma. Along with his administrative duties in the college, Fung will work closely with OU Price College of Business to implement a new graduate certificate program in the arts and business as well as an arts seed-funding program.

The arts executive, award-winning cellist, educator and producer of critically acclaimed projects previously served as vice president for innovation for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra where he led the company’s activities in artistic, social and economic innovation. He continues as executive artistic director of the celebrated concert series Music in the Morning in Vancouver, Canada.

Fung is the founder and producer of the Afiara String Quartet, creating the vision, artistic programming and tour schedule for a 75-concert season.  He is executive producer of Afiara Quartet’s Spin Cycle, the JUNO-nominated double album that was named “Ten Best Classical Recordings of 2015” by Forbes Magazine and CBC Music.

Fung holds a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory and an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School. In addition, he received a master of business administration degree from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. One of two nominated by the school and faculty as a graduate who “epitomizes excellence,” Fung was featured in Fortune Magazine as Poets & Quant’s Best and Brightest Executive MBAs.

As artistic director of the Mooredale Concerts in Toronto, Fung developed the strategy to integrate the youth orchestras, children’s concert series and mainstage concert series. Creating new educational offerings of youth orchestras led to more audience and community engagement. Fung served as RBC Young Artistic Director for the Festival of Sound (2012-2015), producer of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto (2012-2013) and artistic coordinator of the Banff Centre Summer Chamber Music Program (2011).

Fung is a key speaker and lecturer, with speaking engagements at the International Arts Manager’s Association, Hot Docs: Culture Workers Unwind, TEDxToronto, Forum 2016: New Music and the Mainstream, and was guest lecturer at the University of Alberta.

A passionate educator, Fung has been invited to teach and lead masterclasses at festival and schools in Brazil, Asia and throughout North America and Europe. In addition to teaching cello on faculty at the University of Toronto and chamber music at The Julliard School, Fung served as a guest faculty with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto from 2009 to 2016.

Fung’s performance highlights include the Adelaide Festival, Australia; The Roundhouse, England; Noorderzon Festival, Netherlands; Esterhazy Palace, Austria; Lincoln Center; Carnegie Hall; and the Kennedy Center.

Fung is a winner of the Concert Artist Guild International Competition, 2nd prize at the Munich ARD and Banff International String Quartet Competitions, and the Szekely Prize for Best Interpretation of Beethoven.  

"I am honored to join the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma,” Fung said. “It has been a privilege to witness the dedication and vision of my future colleagues, whose work so far has set up a unique environment of energy, focus and collaboration. I believe this spirit of generosity at OU is achieving great things, and I look forward to contributing in this inclusive pursuit of excellence."

Mary Margaret Holt, dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at OU stated, “Adrian Fung brings an impressive experiential base to the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts as we explore additional ways to serve our students in their transition from careers as students at the University of Oklahoma to careers as professional artists.  We look forward to all he will bring to those endeavors.”

Michael Bearden, OU School of Dance Director

Only Three Directors in School’s 54 Year History

Norman, OK: May 25, 2017 – The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents has confirmed Michael Bearden as the new director of its School of Dance, which was founded in 1963 by Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancers Miguel Terekhov and Yvonne Chouteau. Bearden is only the third director in the school’s 54-year history. Prior to coming to OU Bearden was the Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas and an Assistant Professor of Ballet at the University of Utah. Before beginning his work in teaching and administration, Bearden had a long performing career as a principal dancer with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah, and performed leading roles in works by some of the world’s greatest choreographers including George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, William Forsythe, Ben Stevenson, Stanton Welch, Ulysses Dove, Glen Tetley, Twyla Tharp, Jiri Kylian and Christopher Bruce.

Bearden’s work as a choreographer includes creating or staging his ballets for Ballet West, the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, the University of Cincinnati, Belhaven University, Texas Christian University and Bucknell University. Bearden’s appointment begins July 15, 2017.

“The School of Dance at the University of Oklahoma has a reputation as one of the strongest in the nation. It will be an honor to work alongside the excellent students, faculty and staff of the School as we move the program forward into the current renaissance that our art form is experiencing. I am excited to see how we will continue to contribute to the growth of dance into the future,” Bearden said.

The University of Oklahoma’s program in dance was founded in 1963 by Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, former principal dancers with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. What had been a department became the School of Dance in 1998, with Mary Margaret Holt as Director. Undergraduate and graduate dance majors, along with general education students, total approximately 1000 enrollees in dance classes per semester.

Roland Barrett, OU School of Music Director

Roland Barrett, a nationally recognized composer and arranger who has served as interim director of the University of Oklahoma School of Music since July 2016 and as associate director since 2010, has been named as director of the school.

Barrett joined the OU School of Music faculty as assistant director of bands in 1987, then as professor of music theory and composition since 2001. He served, and continues to serve the university on numerous boards and committees.

In 2014, Barrett received two presidential professorships, the Irene & Julian J. Rothbaum Presidential Professor of Excellence in the Arts and the Henry Zarrow Presidential Professor of Music Theory and Composition.

Barrett has over 200 published original works and arrangements for symphonic band, chamber ensembles and marching band to his credit. His compositions have been performed by the Dallas Wind Symphony and by numerous All-State, A-Region and All-District honor bands, and has been featured on National Public Radio, USA cable television network, and several national competitions and conventions.

He is a multiple recipient of the annual ASCAPlus Award, and a past recipient of the Michael Hennagin memorial scholarship in composition.  Barrett’s works are published by Alfred Music, Alan Music, FJH Publications, Wingert-Jones Publications, Matrix/Jalen Music and Solid Brass Music.

Barrett received his doctor of music arts degree in composition from the OU in 2000.


Trojan Women photo

The Peggy Dow Helmerich School of Drama at the University of Oklahoma is one of the top 10 Bachelor of Fine Arts theatre design and technology programs in the nation, according to OnStage. Housed in the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, the school is under the leadership of Tom Huston Orr, director and James Garner Chair. OU is the only school in Oklahoma and the only school in the Big 12 to be selected.

“We are thrilled that OU’s Peggy Helmerich School of Drama has been ranked in the top 10 nationally out of the approximately 3,000 schools of drama in the United States,” said OU President David L. Boren. “Having this center of excellence on our campus enriches the life of the entire university community,” he said. “Director Tom Orr and his faculty and staff colleagues have done an outstanding job of unlocking the great potential of our students.”  

Thoroughly Modern Millie

The A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre at the University of Oklahoma has been recognized as one of the top musical theatre programs in the country by American Theatre magazine. The national publication compiled a list of the top 13 colleges and universities outside the New York City metropolitan area that continually work to modify, adapt and reshape degree programs by offering unique coursework that provides students the opportunity to distinguish themselves in an ever-changing form of theatrical performance.

Both private and public colleges and universities are included in the list. In addition to OU, this year’s honorees include the University of Michigan, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Carnegie Mellon University.

OU is the only school in Oklahoma and the only school in the Big 12 to be selected.

“This honor from American Theatre magazine confirms OU’s ranking as having one of the best musical theatre programs in the nation,” said OU President David Boren.

Housed in the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, OU’s A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre offers students conservatory-style training within a dynamic liberal arts university environment. As the only school of musical theatre in the country, and with alumni performing on Broadway, in national tours, at regional theatres, and throughout Europe and Asia, it has become identified as one of America’s premier musical theatre programs.

“We are very excited to have been named as one of the top programs in the country. I am so proud and honored to be working with such talented and dedicated faculty and staff that provides our students with consistently top notch education,” said the school’s interim director, Harold Mortimer, Ph.D. “Our amazing alumni serve as incredible ambassadors for the school, and we couldn’t be happier for them and the successes of our current students.”

The degree curriculum is designed to provide students with the tools for success both on and off stage. The program offers courses that range from singing, acting, dancing and performing to liberal arts classes, intended to broaden students’ critical thinking and knowledge. It is one of the very few university programs in the nation that provides students an opportunity to be in the same cast with professional Broadway actors in brand-new productions. Students also have opportunities to study musical theatre techniques abroad in Europe and South Africa.       

OU has one of the oldest comprehensive colleges of fine arts in the Great Plains states. In addition to its musical theatre program, the university also has highly regarded schools of music, musical theatre, drama, art and dance, and programs in opera and sculpture.

American Theatre’s complete list of the nation’s top 13 musical theatre programs can be found at

More information about OU’s A. Max Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre can be found at

WOW FACTOR - Stentorian Quartet

Stantorian Quartet

Stentorian Quartet Win Prestigious Awards

The School of Music student saxophone group, The Stentorian Quartet, won 3rd Prize in the 2017 National MTNA Competition; 2nd Prize in the Coltman Competition (National); and were Semi-Finalists in the Fischoff Competition (International). Members of the quartet are Evan Harris, Spiro Nicolas, Jake Hewitt and Tyler Bokman. “Their achievements are truly remarkable as they were competing against the best students in the entire country.” - Jonathan Nichol, OU School of Music professor