Press Room  

Oklahoma City University: News

Search Press Releases

Organ, Brass Concert Marks Nilles' 18th Student Premiere
Composition major Jamie Whitmarsh has been commissioned by the Oklahoma City University Brass Ensemble to create a work that will premiere Nov. 23 in the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel. The work -- for brass, percussion and organ – was commissioned by Ben Nilles, conductor of the Brass Ensemble since September 2007. “I enjoy collaborating with the students and conducting new works.” Nilles said. “It’s important for the composers to hear their music with live musicians, and not on a computer.” Nilles has conducted 17 premieres of works by the composers of Project 21, OCU’s new music consortium. He has been assistant conductor for the Oklahoma City University Symphony Orchestra since August 2006. Compositions premiered under Nilles’ baton have included works for string, chamber, and full orchestra. “We record the student composers’ work for them to submit to grad schools and competitions, Nilles said. “It’s an important process for me, to learn how to pick up new scores in a short amount of time and expand the repertoire . And it’s important for the students in the ensembles to play hot, new live music. It’s something they haven’t performed before, and we’re all learning together.” Nilles earned his Bachelor of Music degree in horn performance from Concordia College and his Master of Music in conducting from Oklahoma City University. He has studied conducting with Bruce Houglum, Matthew Mailman, Mark Parker, and Mark Belcik. He also participated in the final conducting master class given by Sergiu Comissiona. In addition to conducting instrumental ensembles at Concordia College and Oklahoma City University, Nilles has conducted the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra, Oklahoma Youth Philharmonic, and a studio orchestra for a recording session with country singer Bryan White. Dr. Timothy Olsen, university organist, will perform at the Nov. 23 premiere. For more information, on the upcoming premiere with the Brass Ensemble, visit