Alabama Symphony Orchestra performs Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” March 22-23, 7PM, at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center in Birmingham. We’ve got four fresh reasons to get those tickets today to hear one of the greatest works in American music history. Seats start at $24. Use code AppSpring25 for 25% off tickets.
1. That Americana Sound
Lisa Wienhold, principal flutist at Alabama Symphony Orchestra, has played “Appalachian Spring” since she was in college. It’s one of her favorites. Copland originally created it for a 13-piece chamber orchestra for a ballet choreographed by Martha Graham in 1942. (If you don’t know Graham, she was an American modern dance legend. Her ballet focused on a day in the life of a frontier couple.) Later, Copland adapted it for a full orchestra.
“Copland is such an American composer. When you hear film music, almost all of it at least references his sound. It’s really the sound of Americana, and ‘Appalachian Spring’ is his quintessential composition. It uses the little Shaker melody, ‘Simple Gifts,’ which most people know.”Wienhold
Do you know the tune “Simple Gifts”? Listen to this one-minute video.
2. Bonus Tracks + Preview Playlist
In addition to Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” the Alabama Symphony Orchestra performance on March 22 and 23 includes pieces by William Grant Still and Antonin Dvorak. Get a taste of the full lineup by listening to this Spotify preview playlist.
Born in Mississippi in 1895 and raised in Arkansas, Still was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra. He was also the first to have his music performed by major orchestras and opera companies.
Still’s “Darker America,” which you can hear Alabama Symphony Orchestra perform live on March 22 and 23, expresses sorrow, hope and prayer.
Though Antonin Dvorak was not an American composer, he spent three years in New York. His Symphony No. 6, composed in 1880, compliments the spirit of the rest of the performance set list to a tee.
3. Love for Local Artists
When you think about it, it’s pretty cool that our state’s only full-time symphony orchestra is right here in Birmingham.
Alabama Symphony Orchestra performs almost every week during the season. They pull together each new show with four to five rehearsals, lasting between two to two half hours each, plus lots of solo practices before the big performance. And, yes, it’s truly a full-time job, though members teach, too.
“It’s a little bit like a sports team in that if you’re an athlete, you’re doing a lot of work outside of your practices to condition yourself, whether it’s running or weights. Then you meet as a team and you practice, and then you have the big game.”Wienhold
In short, Alabama Symphony Orchestra musicians work incredibly hard to bring top-calibre performances to Birmingham. Let’s support them by filling up those seats.
4. A Stunning Sonic Landscape
Though Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “Appalachian Spring” will be music only, Copland did such a phenomenal job capturing the plot of Graham’s ballet that the musical story stands on its own. You can visualize the scenes as you listen.
The story begins with a peaceful sunrise and an American pioneer couple settling into their new home. Next, the sound grows as the notes take you through the day’s events. You’ll feel the energy of a community dance and the fervor of a visiting revivalist preacher. Finally, as the day closes, the music returns to the quiet of sunset.
“If you can listen to ‘Appalachian Spring’ in any way whatsoever, you should do it. But to come and hear it live is just really amazing. It’s a sonic landscape that communicates a lot of what the spirit of America is.”Wienhold
Get your tickets to hear Alabama Symphony Orchestra perform “Appalachian Spring” Friday and Saturday, March 22-23, 7PM, at the Alys Stephens Center’s Jemison Concert Hall. Use code AppSpring25 for 25% off tickets.
Location and Parking
Find the Alys Stephens Center at 1200 10th Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35205. Park on the street or in one of the lots highlighted in yellow in the map above. Patrons with limited or impaired mobility may be dropped off at the upper and lower circle driveways. For more parking questions, call the Box Office at 205.975.2787.