A More Convenient Season: World Premiere

This September, Hope Takes the Stage.  Will You Join Us?


A More Convenient Season
World Premiere

featuring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, four of Birmingham's most talented young soloists, an all-female chorus composed of members of the region's most beloved community choirs including Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Choir, Tuskegee University Choir, Mississippi State University Choir, & many others; an original film from award-winning director David Peterson, and an electronic music component created by innovative artist Philip White


Commissioned by architect and philanthropist Tom Blount, produced by the Alys Stephens Center. Sponsored by Betty and John McMahon, Friends of Cornerstone School and UAB Medicine.

On September 21, the ASC presents the largest commissioning project in the Center’s history with the premiere of a new work by composer Yotam Haber, commissioned to commemorate the Civil Rights Movement events of 1963. 

The work, titled "A More Convenient Season," derives its name from the text of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

"… who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than
absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

Like no performance we’ve experienced before, the work can best be described as “soaring.” Every word the chorus sings comes from FBI files and oral histories from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s archives. The accompanying film is created from home movies and news footage of the time. The music, performed by an orchestra and a live electronic artist, is stirring and emotional. Yet all of the work’s voices come together for a message of beauty and hope. The piece exemplifies the power of the arts to tell our stories, connect us, and give us hope for the future.

The chorus sings, “How far is far?” … “How high is high?”

Guggenheim fellow and accomplished composer Yotam Haber found inspiration for those words through repeated visits to Birmingham over the last two years. The culmination of Haber's listening to oral histories, learning from foot soldiers, speaking with historians, and browsing through files and artifacts in the Birmingham Public Library Archives has resulted in this immense work. Choirmaster David Harris comments, “I can’t underscore enough how powerful this music and this project is. I believe it’s one of the most important choral pieces for at least a decade, or more, and that we will hear more about it for years  to come.”

In 2014, the Alys Stephens Center will also premiere this work on the West Coast in a performance featuring the CalArts Orchestra at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre).

ArtPlay Composers Workshop: Monday, Sept. 16, 4pm, Jemison Concert Hall.

ArtPlay Meet the Artist School Show: Thursday, Sept. 19, 10am, Jemison Concert Hall.


Birmingham News article about A More Convenient Season


  • Saturday, September 21, 2013 · 8 PM
    A: $60.50 · B: $49.50 · C: $37.50 · tickets


  • Jemison Concert Hall


Yotam Haber was born in Holland and grew up in Israel, Nigeria, and Milwaukee - his music is informed by those places. He received the 2007-2008 Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize and a 2005 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Recent commissions include two works for Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor; and new works for Gabriel Kahane, Alarm Will Sound; 2012 Bang on a Can Summer Festival; the Neuvocalsolisten Stuttgart and ensemble l’arsenale; JACK Quartet, Cantori New York, and the Berlin-based Quartet New Generation. He is currently collaborating with MacArthur Prize Fellow Anna Schuleit on a large-scale project of 104 piano pieces inspired by 104 paintings, drawn from stories by the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard. Haber is the artistic director of MATA, the non-profit organization founded by Philip Glass, that has, since 1996, been dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works by young composers from around the world. His music is published by RAI Trade.

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