Program provides a concert series, immersive learning opportunities for Oklahoma State University
students, and youth performances for Stillwater Public Schools

STILLWATER/NEW YORK CITY (March 23, 2022) – The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts and the
New York Philharmonic announced today a three-year residency partnership which will bring the
renowned orchestra to Stillwater on a regular basis. The partnership provides valuable educational
opportunities for Oklahoma State University (OSU) Greenwood School of Music and Stillwater Public
Schools students. Each year, the residency will include a gala event, public performances, a New York
Philharmonic Very Young People’s Concert and a multitude of masterclasses where students can interact
with some of the world’s greatest musicians. As part of the program, select OSU music students will travel
to New York City each year for immersive learning opportunities with the Philharmonic.
With a commitment from Oklahoma State University to transform its arts facilities, The McKnight Center
was established in 2016. Philanthropists Ross and Billie McKnight provided leading support through a $25
million gift, establishing a visionary and unique programming endowment. The Center’s partnership with
the New York Philharmonic reflects an aligned commitment between two organizations dedicated to
sharing world-class education and art.
“We are pleased to expand our partnership with a distinguished institution like the New York Philharmonic
through this three-year residency,” said The McKnight Center namesake Ross McKnight, who serves as a
board member at the New York Philharmonic and as Board Chair at The McKnight Center. “We envision
the Center as a transformational space for our university, community and region to experience worldclass art. Over the next three years, the residency will help to establish a cultural legacy in Stillwater that
will draw audiences and develop the next generation of musicians.”
“The opening of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts was a truly memorable experience for all of
us at the New York Philharmonic,” said New York Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda. “The
warmth of the Stillwater audiences was matched by the commitment of the OSU students who worked
with our musicians, and the enthusiasm of the young listeners at our Very Young People’s Concert. That
was only the beginning, and we look forward to deepening our ties to our Stillwater family through annual
engaging and immersive visits over the next three years.”
The New York Philharmonic returns to The McKnight Center on Sept. 23, 24 and 25, 2022 with New York
Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden conducting. The weekend of performances will feature
acclaimed violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Conrad Tao. The orchestra will return during the Center’s 2023-
2024 and 2024-2025 seasons.
“The musicians of the Philharmonic and I are very much looking forward to returning to Oklahoma State
University’s McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. When we inaugurated the beautiful new concert
hall in 2019, we were touched by the warm welcome we received and by the enthusiasm of the audience.
It will be a joy to return,” said van Zweden.
A special highlight of the Gala concert on Sept. 23 is the opportunity for more than 100 OSU vocal
students to share the stage with the orchestra, providing an incredible and unique learning experience.
The students will perform the choral section of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, “Ode to Joy.” Considered
to be Beethoven’s greatest work, it is one of the most frequently performed and recognizable
symphonies in the world.
“We strive to create a professional environment that stimulates the highest standards in music education
and have enjoyed a strong relationship with The McKnight Center,” said Professor and Director of the
Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Jeff Loeffert. “A
partnership of this magnitude with the New York Philharmonic sets the standard in music programs and
provides OSU students with opportunities not available anywhere else.”
The New York Philharmonic and The McKnight Center have a history of meaningful partnering. In 2019
the New York Philharmonic kicked off The McKnight Center’s inaugural season with a four-day residency
that included 16 masterclasses, four performances, a gala event and a New York Philharmonic Very Young
People’s Concert for elementary school students. In 2018, prior to the Center opening, the orchestra’s
principal musicians led mini-residencies that included masterclasses and guest performances with student
music ensembles.
“We are delighted to continue our partnership with the New York Philharmonic which includes some of
the world’s most accomplished musicians,” said OSU President Kayse Shrum. “Their expertise will further
advance the learning opportunities and academic excellence at Oklahoma State University. I am grateful
for the vision and support of Ross and Billie McKnight and to the New York Philharmonic for bringing their
talents, artistry and the beauty of their music to our student musicians and our community.”
The McKnight Center serves as a world-class epicenter for the arts with immersive learning opportunities.
“This three-year residency illustrates The McKnight Center’s commitment to present unparalleled artists
in a format that goes deeper than performances alone,” said The McKnight Center’s Marilynn and Carl
Thoma Executive Director Mark Blakeman. “Our partnership with the New York Philharmonic strengthens
the Center’s growing reputation as a venue that attracts top talent. Through the residency’s main
components – performance, education, and outreach – we are poised to foster a powerful artistic
environment for our community.”
The McKnight Center will announce its full slate of 2022-2023 performances in May 2022, which will run
from September 2022 to May 2023. The New York Philharmonic recently announced its 2022-2023 season
and the reopening of the Philharmonic’s newly renovated David Geffen Hall.
McKnight Center season subscribers enjoy benefits including discounts, exclusive access to tickets and
pre-sales, seats to high demand performances and the opportunity to renew into prime seats each year.
Subscription packages will go on sale to the public in mid-summer. Tickets to single events will go on
sale in August 2022. To join the Center’s family of subscribers, contact the box office at 405-744-9999 or
About The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts
The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University is a world-class epicenter for
the arts dedicated to attracting celebrated national and international programs with notable performing
arts productions and artists. The McKnight Center is an expression of Oklahoma State University’s
commitment to the arts to inspire and transform lives through artistic excellence, creative experiences,
and impactful learning opportunities. To learn more, visit
About the New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic plays a leading cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the
world. Each season the Philharmonic connects with up to 50 million music lovers through live concerts in
New York City and on its worldwide tours and residencies; digital recording series; international
broadcasts; education programs; and the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives. To learn
more, visit