Alabama Symphony Orchestra
The famous Birmingham based orchestra was informally founded in the year 1921 with a bunch of young musicians volunteering to perform at the city’s music festival that took place at the Old Jefferson Theatre. However, their first official concert was held at the Philips High School in 1933. The musical performances by the Alabama Symphony gained considerable popularity during the 1930s. Though it suffered a temporary phase out during World War II but the persistent music interest of the community following the war soon made way for the revival of the orchestra.
Between 1949 and 1960, the orchestra functioned under the direction of the former American Orchestra League President, Arthur Bennett Lipkin. The Alabama Youth Orchestra was formed during the 50s under the symphony concertmaster Herbert Levinson. By this time, the symphony orchestra which began as a volunteering act performance had become entirely professional. Its name was changed to Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Following the retirement of Arthur Lipkin, the role of conducting the orchestra was taken up by former faculty member of Juilliard School of Music, Arthur Winograd in 1960. He led the orchestra for four years until Amerigo Marino was appointed for the job in 1964.
The year of 1966 is particularly significant in the history of the Albama Orchestra. During this year, it was selected as one of thirty three nationwide orchestras to obtain a grant worth $600,000 by the Ford Foundation. It was allotted on a conditional basis which required the orchestra to generate a matching figure within a time frame of ten years. The devoted group of musicians was able to meet the target in record time. In 1979, the orchestra was renamed as the Albama Symphony Orchestra with regard to the immense popularity and support that it enjoyed throughout the state. This was also in recognition to the fact that most of its concerts were held in several different locations/venues across Alabama.
The Alabama Orchestra celebrated its silver jubilee in 1983. A couple of years later in 1985, Paul Polivnick was chosen as the new conductor for the orchestra. His appointment further attracted a large number of applicants from various corners of the world.
After going through a low phase from 1994 to 1996, the orchestra reemerged under the strong leadership of Principal Conductor Mark Gibson and Artistic Advisor Gustav Meier in 1997. Maestro Richard Westerfield was selected as the new orchestra conductor. His wide understanding and interpretation of classical compositions proved beneficial for the ASO who achieved newer heights of popularity and musical excellence under his direction. He conducted his last orchestra performance in Alys Stephens Center in 2004.
Through various eras and under different conductors, The Alabama Symphony Orchestra has flourished immensely, both in terms of size as well as scope. The lineup has increased to more than fifty musicians. While the 1997/98 season featured a modest three concert series, the orchestra now boasts a range of subscription series that include Wachovia Masterworks, Red Diamond Family Concerts and Concertmaster & Friends to name a few.
In 2011, the orchestra was honored with the John S. Edwards Award for its immense contributions and commitment to new American Music. It is also strongly associated with the Alabama Ballet and Birmingham Opera as it provides live music scores to back their performances.
For nearly a century, The Alabama Symphony Orchestra has entertained the audience with high quality music performances of various genres and styles of music. Featuring the finest performers of day, the orchestra strives to explore and widen its horizons by introducing listeners to the works of new composers along with keeping alive the essence of the old treasured musical masterpieces. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is one such work crafted specially for symphony orchestra and solo piano. It premiered in 1934 when Rachmaninoff performed the solo piano part along with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Lyric Opera House. Many shows and eight years later, it is now being presented by the exceptionally talented and renowned Alabama Symphony Orchestra. So buy your cheap Alabama Symphony Orchestra tickets
and get ready to enjoy the epic act of one of the most complex and intricate pieces of piano and symphony repertory.