After an 18-month pause for the pandemic, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra returns to live concerts

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Alabama Symphony Orchestra

Alabama Symphony Orchestra

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra will perform in front of a live audience Friday after an 18-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a joyous moment,” said Carlos Izcaray, music director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

The orchestra offered some performances during the pandemic, but Friday will be the first time the full ensemble performs from its home venue, the Alys Stephens Center.

This season the orchestra will celebrate its centennial — 100 years of creating music in the state.

In 1921, the city of Birmingham celebrated its 50th anniversary. Part of that celebration was a performance by a group of volunteer musicians who would then become the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

“It’s almost symbiotic, because of that 50th anniversary we’re tied to the history of the city,” Izcaray said. “So, as we want the city to keep growing and expanding and becoming a prosperous place, a place for diversity, for good living and wellness, and all that … the symphony plays a role.”

Izcaray said part of the orchestra’s role is to cater to the well-being of the community through music and education. This season Izcaray is spearheading a new programming initiative to increase the visibility of women composers and composers of color.

“There’s a very diverse and interesting pool of creators of all genders, races, origins and this is the place where you get to experience that,” he said.

The orchestra will also bring back the Masterworks series, including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, an audience favorite.

Izcaray said the orchestra’s comeback season will be a moment for rediscovery.

“We find liberation and magic and entertainment and all sorts of wonders just through the power of music. And that’s what we do, we change lives through music.”

Below, the orchestra performs Symphony No. 2 – Josphe Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges in an empty concert hall during the pandemic.

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra opens the season on Friday, October 8 with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto featuring violinist Tessa Lark. Capacity will be reduced at venues to allow for social distancing and masks are required.

Editor’s Note: The Alabama Symphony Orchestra is a program sponsor of WBHM. But the news and business departments operate separately.

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