program notes by composition > T > Tulsa, A Symphonic Portrait in Oil

Tulsa, A Symphonic Portrait in Oil

Don Gillis/trans. Maurice Ford

Tulsa, A Symphonic Portrait in Oil is a ten-minute tribute to 'The Oil Capital of the World', as the city termed itself. It was commissioned by Tulsa's largest bank in the aftermath of the composer’s success with his humorous Symphony No. 5 1/2. It pictures Oklahoma's 1889 land rush during which Tulsa was founded, as well as a square dance and the capping of an oil well.

Don Gillis (1912-1978) was a prolific composer, arranger, and music educator. He attended TCU where he played trombone. He began his career in radio in Dallas in the 1930s and rose to become a conductor, composer and producer. He composed in virtually all contemporary styles and genres. His music is engaging, accessible, and often satirical and humorous with whimsical titles. His compositions often reflect a wonderful sense of regional flavor and Americana. His more than 150 works include ten symphonies and six string quartets.

Last updated on July 28, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band