Our History


The bART has adopted the refined and prestigious, century-old Russian “Musica Schola” known for its rigorous and comprehensive training since 2004.

The bART Center for Music was founded in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Its sole purpose is to provide music education for the larger Tulsa community. The bART was made possible through the legacy of Dr. and Mrs. Albert Barthelmes, who came to the U.S. from Germany in the late 30s on the eve of World War II. Musicians themselves, they, with other early Tulsa arts supporters, founded the Tulsa Philharmonic.


In 2004, the bART adopted the refined and prestigious, century-old Russian “Musica Schola” known for its rigorous and comprehensive training. The students learn the technical and musical skills needed to make any instrument a vehicle for self-expression and enjoyment. In addition, the Russian model not only encourages progressive mastery of technical skills, but also the conventions governing the expression of emotions in performance through work privately and in ensembles.


The Center offers superior private music lessons for piano, cello, violin, viola, bass, flute, African drums, voice, and guitar for all ages and abilities. Classes are minimally fee-based. Many Center students, ages eight to thirteen, are able to go from their Center lessons to competitive audition and acceptance into Conservatory. Early Childhood Education classes are also offered for parents and infants and toddlers. They introduce our youngest community members to the joy of listening and responding to sound and instruments. Creative Aging Programs are available for the life-long learner, as well.


The Conservatory is a competitive and scholarship-based program for young students with a commitment to perform and excel on piano, cello, violin, viola, bass, and flute. Conservatory students have more involvement in the music community through the Conservatory’s cooperative efforts, such as its collaborations with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Tulsa, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Ballet, Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, Tulsa Children’s Chorus, and the German-American Society of Tulsa, among others. Along with our students, the greater Tulsa community is served with opportunities to attend free public concerts at Conservatory’s Open Concerts, and Faculty and Student Recitals.


Additionally, The bART partners with Tulsa Public Schools to provide strings, drums, and guitar programs in eight of TPS’s most challenged schools. Multiple age groups are given two group lessons weekly by experienced and inspiring instructors. Funding through use of The bART’s instruments and salaries of bART-employed music faculty help these critical programs survive year after year.


We operate with a budget of approximately $500,000 annually. We rely on earned income from the Center,  Early Childhood Programs, and generous foundation and corporate support,private donors, along with the individual support of parents and families of our Conservatory students.

  • Education data on more that 25,000 secondary students reveals that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show “significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.”

    – Source: Catterall, James S., Richard Chapleau, and John Iwanaga. “Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement in Music and Theatre Arts,” 1999 Retrieved December 13, 2011 from the NAMM Foundation Web site. [/quote]