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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.

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.

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