Born in Poland, raised in Turkey and a resident of the U.S. since 2000, Agnieszka Rakhmatullaev has always been driven and surrounded by music. “I come from a musical family,” she says. “My mom is a violinist; my aunt is a pianist; my brother plays the cello; my husband is a bassoonist; and his entire family are all musicians.”

A formally trained violinist, Rakhmatullaev has performed with orchestras across the world and taught students of varying ages. In 2007, she transitioned into arts management and has held positions at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Music Festival, Houston Symphony and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. She also completed a prestigious orchestral management fellowship program with the League of American Orchestras. Rakhmatullaev arrived in OKC in September 2019 – along with her husband Marat and their now two-year-old daughter Anna – to begin her role as Oklahoma City Philharmonic’s executive director. We caught up with her and got her thoughts on …

… the appeal of OKC Phil.

The combination of its tremendous legacy and extraordinary potential. The organization has benefited from decades-long remarkable leadership that brought the Philharmonic national recognition. I saw this position as an exciting opportunity to continue this legacy, while exploring some new horizons, in partnership with our phenomenal music director Alexander Mickelthwate. We are so fortunate to have a world-class orchestra formed by some of the finest musicians of our region. For all these reasons, I simply couldn’t pass the opportunity of leading the OKCPHIL.

… best moments thus far, and future goals.

My proudest moment is our “re-imagined” 2020-21 season. It is the result of some remarkable team work of the entire staff, the vision of our music director, support from our board and collaboration with our musicians. Many orchestras remain silent for this fall and beyond, and we at the OKCPHIL remain committed to bringing back orchestral music to our community, despite all the challenges of a global pandemic. We worked tirelessly for months, exploring all the possible options, and having to re-image every single aspect of our operations. But we came up with a plan. Our collective goal is simply to make it all happen. Of course, as you can imagine, that’s easier said than done!

… navigating COVID-19 her first year on the job.

There is no doubt that the pandemic affected every single aspect and every single person in the OKCPHIL family. We had to cancel all of our concerts and programs since March. But we continued to find ways in which to share music with our community, even during the lock-down. Our musicians and Alexander produced some wonderful videos that attracted thousands of viewers across the world, of diverse repertoire, ranging from Billy Joel to Tchaikovsky. Music can provide an outlet to share and experience emotions, healing and unity, all much needed during this very challenging time. We look forward to bringing a wide range of performances at Civic Center, across the city, and on virtual platforms throughout this season, knowing that music will play an integral part of the recovery process for our entire community. 

… what she’s excited about.

Experiencing a live orchestral performance – there is nothing like being surrounded by the waves of sound that evoke a range of emotions and transport you to a different place and time. I also look forward to deepening our impact through a variety of education and community engagement performances, which will allow us to serve people of all ages. 

… OKC.

We have fallen in love with this beautiful city, its amazing offerings, and, most importantly, the genuine people that made us welcomed from the moment we got here. It’s a wonderful community to be a part of, and we feel extremely fortunate.

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