|AVNER DORMAN||Astrolatry (NY premiere)*|
||Shapeshifters for Two Pianos and Orchestra
Quattro Mani: Susan Grace and Alice Rybak, pianos
|LUDWIG van BEETHOVEN*Alabama Symphony Orchestra Commissions||Symphony No. 7|
Alabama Symphony Orchestra
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra can trace its beginnings to 1921, when 52 volunteer musicians performed at the Birmingham Music Festival. It was not until 1933, however, that the orchestra gave its first formal concert, under the direction of Dorsey Whittington. In 1933, the Birmingham Symphony Association was officially launched. With a budget of $7,000, four concerts were planned for its first season. By the 1935-36 season, the orchestra had as many as eighty players, and a budget of $410,000.
In 1993, the orchestra declared bankruptcy, bringing an abrupt and sad ending to the history of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Almost as soon as it disbanded, Michael McGillivray, an orchestra member representing many of the musicians, approached volunteers Rae Trimmier and Joan Parker to discuss the future of the ensemble. Through the combined efforts of many musicians and volunteers, a plan ensured the rebirth of the orchestra. Ten Birmingham women guaranteed a loan from SouthTrust Bank for the purchase of the orchestra’s tangible assets, which were then sold to the new organization, The Alabama Symphonic Association.
The new Alabama Symphony Orchestra debuted in September 1997, under the leadership of Artistic Advisor Gustav Meier and Principal Conductor Mark Gibson. Soon after, Maestro Richard Westerfield was appointed Music Director. His impressive credentials included positions as music director of the Harrisburg Symphony and as associate conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa.
The ASO continues to be an integral part of Alabama’s cultural fabric. In addition to its concert season in Birmingham, the orchestra has performed in such places as Tuscaloosa, Anniston, Decatur, Point Clear, Montgomery (Huntingdon College), Florence, Dothan and Enterprise. In addition, the ASO accompanies many performances by the Alabama Ballet and Opera Birmingham. Working together with the leaders of Birmingham, Jefferson County and the State of Alabama, the ASO has a renewed commitment to its ever-expanding mission of making professional symphonic music available to every resident of our state. For more information, visit alabamasymphony.org.
About Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, the largest city in the state, nestles in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Set at the cross-section of two major railroads, the city was once the primary industrial center of the southern United States. At the height of the nation’s manufacturing age, Birmingham grew so fast in population it was called the “Magic City.” Today, it has transformed itself into a medical research, banking and service-based economy, making it one of the nation’s most livable cities with a vibrant downtown, a burgeoning loft community, a world-class culinary scene and more green space per capita than any other city in the nation. Birmingham boasts 99 historic neighborhoods and is often referred to as the cradle of the American Civil Rights Movement.