The Oklahoma State University Symphony Orchestra has found itself among the nation's best collegiate programs. The latest honor to be attained by the orchestra is being a national finalist in The American Prize in Orchestral Performance Competition. 

Based on recordings from 2019's concerts, OSU advanced to the final round, and is one of only eight collegiate symphonies to be a finalist for the award. 

Thomas Dickey, director of orchestral studies in the OSU Greenwood School of Music, answered questions about the symphony orchestra placing among the best collegiate programs in the country. 

1. Can you describe what it means for the OSU Symphony Orchestra to be named a National Finalist in The American Prize in Orchestral Performance Competition?

It's a very exciting time for the OSU Symphony Orchestra. We've been named a National Finalist for two awards by The American Prize: one in orchestral performance and one in orchestral programming. I think it means that the OSUSO is performing music that builds audiences, educates people and enriches the community, all at a very high level.

2. What was the process for the OSU Symphony Orchestra and this competition?

The American Prize is a competition where conductors submit recordings and programs from the previous academic year that are then evaluated by professional musicians from around the country.

3. How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the orchestra’s ability to work its way toward this competition?

Fortunately for us, we were able to submit our recordings and concert programs before the pandemic.

4. What does it mean that the OSU Symphony Orchestra to be one of eight such programs in the country to be a finalist?

The orchestra and I have been working very hard since I arrived at OSU in 2016. We have tackled and performed a wide variety of music by a very wide variety of composers, ranging from canonical composers like Beethoven and Dvorak to women composers, LGBTQ composers, and composers of color. Being named a National Finalist recognizes well the growth we have made over the past four years.

5. Is there anything else you would like to add about the American Prize in Orchestral Competition or anything else?

I wish to add a big thank you to our supporters and fans in the community and, of course, the OSU Cowboy Family (administration, faculty, staff, students, alums, etc.) for all their support of the orchestra program. We couldn't have done it without them. Go Pokes!

– Tanner Holubar

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