About the Signature Symphony
The Signature Symphony began in 1978 as a small professional chamber orchestra, the Tulsa Little Symphony, and in the early 80s became the Oklahoma Sinfonia, presenting a series of pops and light classics at the Brady Theater for more than a decade.
In 1997, the ensemble was asked to become the professional orchestra-in-residence at Tulsa Community College’s new performing arts center on the southeast campus. Since that time, the Signature Symphony at TCC has developed a well-received concert series at the VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education (PACE), as well as continuing a long-standing artistic relationship with Tulsa Ballet as the pit orchestra for their season productions. The move to the excellent TCC facilities has also provided outstanding opportunities to partner with the College and surrounding school systems for music education outreach, and to develop innovative classical presentations for new audience development.
While the orchestra receives in-kind support from the College for office space and hall expenses, all other operating expenses are funded through ticket sales and community funding. Operating as a per-service professional orchestra, the Symphony uses local professional musicians for all of its artistic and educational presentations, most of whom live, work, and teach in the Tulsa area. Our players also participate regularly in other area ensembles, including the Tulsa Opera Orchestra, OK Mozart Festival Orchestra, Bartlesville Symphony, Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and the Fort Smith Symphony. In addition, more than 20 members of the Symphony teach either full or part-time in area schools. Several orchestra members are adjunct faculty in Tulsa area colleges.
The Symphony's most unique outreach has been the creation of the Signature Quartet education program. Now in its 4th year, the Quartet was developed to enhance and support music education for K-12 school students in Northeastern Oklahoma, and to directly benefit the music programs in Tulsa Public Schools. While performing with the Symphony, the quartet members are also placed as string specialists for instruction in Tulsa Public Schools. Teaching string programs four days a week, they are also available one day a week to assist other string program teachers within Tulsa Public and surrounding districts with string recruiting activities, school assemblies/recitals, orchestra assemblies, informances, master classes, or coaching sessions.
When artistically and logistically feasible, outstanding student musicians (both collegiate and high school level) have the opportunity to perform side-by-side with the orchestra’s professional players. For many of these students, their performing experiences with the Signature Symphony have paved a career path to The Juilliard School, the Shepherd School of Music (Rice), the Oklahoma Philharmonic, the former Tulsa Philharmonic, the U.S. Marine Band in Washington, D.C., and the New World Symphony.
The community served by the Signature Symphony covers a wide spectrum of the Tulsa area and northeast Oklahoma citizenry, reaching thousands of audience members through the acclaimed pops and classics programming, and thousands of students through direct instruction, informances, and other educational outreach throughout the year. As a result of this innovative partnership between the Signature Symphony and Tulsa Community College, orchestral performance and music education have established a home in which to flourish and grow for the benefit of the Tulsa community.