Alexander Mickelthwate joined the Bear Valley Music Festival in 2022, serving as only the fourth Music Director in the Festival’s more than five-decade history. He was chosen from over 60 applicants to succeed Maestro Michael Morgan who passed away in 2021 after completing his 8th season with the Festival.
Mickelthwate is Music Director of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic where he’s built a reputation for creating uniquely tailored programs to bring in new audiences. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its artistic horizons; increased the number of onstage and city-wide collaborations; commissioned works commemorating significant events and anniversaries; and is currently completing its first-ever recording project with the international Naxos label. Originally from Germany, Mickelthwate is also Music Director Emeritus of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in Canada.
In his twelve years in Winnipeg, he played a pivotal role in the rejuvenation and turnaround of the Winnipeg Symphony which culminated in a highly successful and critically acclaimed performance at Carnegie Hall in May 2014. The New York Times noted the performance was “conducted expertly,” and the New York Classical review stated “under Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate, they play with excellent intonation and such a fine overall blend and balance of sound that, on their own terms, they may be the best orchestra to appear in the week’s worth of concerts.”
Deeply rooted in his German heritage, English music critic and writer Norman Lebrecht wrote about Mickelthwate’s interpretation of Mahler’s 10th Symphony with the Winnipeg Symphony: “Both Mahler 10 performances were intense and engaging. Every twist and turn in the score was fresh and surprising to my ears.”
In North America, Mickelthwate has guest conducted the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Houston Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Saint Luke’s and Toronto Symphony, among others. His European debut was with the Hamburg Symphony. He also conducted the BBC London, Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, Royal Scottish and the Monte Carlo Philharmonic.
Mickelthwate has worked with Dame Evelyn Glennie, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Yuja Wang, Plácido Domingo and many others, and a wide range of composers including Phil Glass, Steve Reich and John Adams. He has conducted for President Jimmy Carter and the Queen of England, and he received the Queen Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Key to the City of Winnipeg.
Mickelthwate is married to fashion designer Abigail Mickelthwate and has two sons.
Learn more about our previous Music Director, Michael Morgan, here.