Alabama Symphony Orchestra performs at Thompson High School

Published 10:55 am Monday, January 17, 2022

By WILLIAM MARLOW | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – The Alabama Symphony Orchestra conducted several musical performances at Thompson High School on Sunday, Jan. 8, marking the first time the entire orchestra has held a concert at the school.

Cassandra Flores-Everett, the orchestra’s marketing and communications coordinator, said the performance included several classical and modern musical interpretations with Aaron Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ and Dvorak’s acclaimed ‘New World Symphony’ being the headlining acts.

She described ‘Appalachian Spring’ as a joyous musical journey through the rolling hills and boundless American countryside, while ‘New World Symphony’ is a composition based on the vast expanses of the American West.

“[Appalachian Spring] is a standard piece of repertoire, which means that it’s something that a lot of orchestras perform,” Flores-Everett said. “It is great work, but we also did a pair of pieces, one of which was Dvorak’s New World Symphony, which is another big piece that a lot of orchestras really love to perform.”

Aside from classical music, the school also hosted the world premiere of Carlos Izcaray’s ‘Under the Shadows: An Immigrant’s Journey’, which explores the musician’s life and immigration to the United States.

“It’s about his experience as an immigrant in the United States,” Flores-Everett added. “He’s migrated numerous times throughout his life, and it’s a love story about being a part of the nation essentially.”

Izcaray serves as the Alabama Symphony Orchestra music director and was born into a family of several artistic generations in Caracas, Venezuela. Growing up, he studied conducting with his father as a teenager and went on to become a distinguished fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

Izcaray has won top prizes in music including at the 2007 Aspen Music Festival and at the 2008 Toscanini International Conducting Competition and is currently a dual citizen of Spain and Venezuela. He, however, divides most of his time between Birmingham and Los Angeles.

“We’d really like to highlight the world premiere aspect of it and that we are just grateful that we are able to use the Thompson performance space,” Flores-Everett said. “It’s a really state-of-the-art facility. We’ve been using it for our youth orchestra concerts, but this was a real treat to be able to have a concert there with all our ASO members.”

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s next performances are scheduled for February, including the ‘Birmingham does Broadway: Celebrating Love’ concert as part of the city’s Valentine Day celebrations and the orchestra’s Masterworks series, which will center around a recomposed concert of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.