Musical staff

OKCPHIL signs multi-year contract with Mickelthwate; announces further personnel changes

The Oklahoma City Philharmonic has announced a new multi-year contract extension for Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate.

“This marks the start of my fifth season in charge of OKCPHIL,” said Mickelthwate. “It is truly a pleasure to work with musicians of this caliber. Individually they are incredibly talented and as an orchestra they are a source of pride for our entire community.

“An Oklahoma audience is something else to see,” Mickelthwate continued. “They’re so fun and enthusiastic about what we do. And you can feel that energy on stage. They give us love and we give it back. I came to Oklahoma City five years ago and I I immediately felt that it was my home.

“I’ve lived in New York, LA, and Atlanta, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere but here. It feels like a big city, but small enough for a sense of community. My wife, sons, and I love it here and Oklahoma City has become our home.

Mickelthwate leads the orchestra as OKCPHIL take the stage at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 17 at the Civic Center Music Hall to kick off their new season. World-renowned pianist Garrick Ohlsson will be the featured soloist in a program that includes works by Gabriela Lena Frank, Beethoven and Strauss.

OKCPHIL also welcomes a new Director of Development. Blossom Crews brings a wealth of leadership and fundraising experience. His previous roles include work at the Virtue Center, as well as Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Oklahoma and United Way of Central Oklahoma. Crews begins his new role on September 22.

And OKCPHIL’s executive director, Agnieszka Rakhmatullaev, is leaving the organization at the end of November, after three and a half years with the organization. She will take on a new role as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

“Few people in the industry could have pulled our beloved orchestra through the pandemic, continuing to serve our audiences, like Agnieszka,” said OKCPHIL Board Chair Jane Jayroe Gamble. “He is a shining star with a big heart. With regret we say ‘goodbye’ but with gratitude we say thank you for outstanding leadership during a difficult time.”

The search process for Rakhmatullaev’s replacement is ongoing, led by the search committee chaired by President-elect Jerrod Shouse.

More information about OKCPHIL, its concerts and programs, can be found on the website at