The mission of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra is to change lives through music.
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra began in 1921 and today is continuing to make music and provide vital services to the residents of the state. We serve nearly 100,000 individuals a year through concert series, youth programs, and educational and community engagement efforts to fulfill our mission to change lives through music. A quality, full-time professional orchestra is vital to the health of our community, making it attractive to businesses and families. This season, the ASO will perform more than 190 concerts resulting in an $18 million positive economic impact on the state according to a recent study by Americans for the Arts. Continuing our dedication to serving the community through music, the ASO has maintained its education programs and plans to perform free public concerts as well as provide many other free Community Engagement Programs throughout the state.
The ASO has begun a new music director search in the 2012-2013 season as Maestro Brown has transitioned to his new role as Music Director Laureate. Under his leadership, the ASO has been awarded three ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 2010, 2011, and 2012. As the state’s premier performing arts organization, the ASO employs 53 salaried musicians.
The ASO partners with several other arts, community and educational organizations including UAB’s Alys Stephens Center, Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham City Schools, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Children’s Theatre, Birmingham Southern College, University of Alabama at Birmingham and many more to serve our community through collaboration. The ASO impacts a large and diverse audience and will serve more than 30,000 children through our meaningful education programs and Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra (ASYO) which is in its third season.
In May 2012, the ASO made its debut at Carnegie Hall for the Spring for Music’s second annual festival. Spring for Music hosts six orchestras in six consecutive days who have proven themselves nationally to be innovative and adventurous in their programming. The participating orchestras for the 2012 festival were Houston Symphony, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Nashville Symphony. There was a highly competitive group of applicants from North America, and the ASO was honored to be among those selected to participate. Any orchestra can rent Carnegie Hall and perform there, but the true distinction is that the ASO was actually paid to be part of the festival which partially covered our costs to make the trip and give the most momentous performance in our organization’s history. We are proud to bring positive national attention to Birmingham and the entire state as we promote the culture and quality of life Birmingham and Alabama have to offer.
The ASO focuses its in-school education programs on Title One schools in inner-city and rural areas which have no full-time music teacher. We also focus on providing instructors to schools struggling to maintain instrument instruction with limited resources. According to current research by Americans for the Arts and the NCES, arts education can play a critical role in a child’s academic and social development. Well-designed and executed arts education leads to overall improved academic performance, builds skills necessary for workplace success, and has a positive influence on the lives of students. Only 62% of Alabama children graduate from high school and many students are denied an avenue for academic success with limited or no access to music education. The ASO makes sharing the educational benefits of music with students of all ages a priority by offering special programming tailored to specific age groups and making free study guides available to instructors to aid in incorporating music into their daily curriculum.