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.

August 2015
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Saturday 8/15
Robert Randolph and the Family Band 08/15/2015
$, 20.00, 29.00, 30.80, 32.60, 38.00
SHOW 8:00pm
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They’ve rocked some of the biggest stages in the business. Finally, Robert Randolph & The Family Band are bringing
their intense, good-time funk, and brilliant pedal steel guitar playing to the ASC. » First, let’s talk guitar. Randolph’s
unprecedented prowess on his instrument garnered him a spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”
list. Rolling Stone called the group “one of the most intense live acts in all of jamdom,” making their appearance at the ASC one that should not be missed. Robert Randolph & The Family Band will be a show that will have you dancing in your seat!

B.B. King Tribute
Monday 8/17
B.B. King Tribute 08/17/2015
SHOW 7:00pm
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The ASC is honored to host a tribute to one of the greatest guitarists and musicians of all time as we pay homage to B.B. King. Over a dozen musicians from Birmingham and around the Southeast region are coming together for one night to honor the blues legend in this free concert. Join Elnora Spencer, Ona Watson, Chad Fisher, CeCe Phillips, Sean Michael Ray, PJ Spraggins, Joseph Stallworth, Joey Sommerville, Marc Phillips and GrooveDaddy, Microwave Dave, Norris Jones, Tim Boykin, and UAB's Artist-in-Residence, Eric Essix.

Rickie Lee Jones
Friday 8/21
Rickie Lee Jones 08/21/2015
$29.00, 39.00, 49.00
SHOW 8:00pm
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Finally. Rickie Lee Jones is coming back to Birmingham! The ASC is thrilled to present the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter for an evening of musical reminiscing and exploration. Jones exploded onto the pop scene in 1979 and has made a career of fearlessly experimenting with her sound and persona over 15 critically acclaimed albums. A cultural phenomenon, she graced the cover of Rolling Stone twice in two years, and performed an unprecedented three songs during her second appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” Her latest album and first new music in over a decade, The Other Side of Desire was written, recorded, and rooted in New Orleans.

Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band
Thursday 9/03
Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band 09/03/2015
SHOW 7:00pm
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Hosted by UAB Artist-in-Residence Eric Essix, The Essentials is the ASC’s innovative series devoted to honoring the rich history of jazz. The fourth installment will explore the complex, multinational musical fusion known as Latin jazz. » The evening begins with a survey of the history of Latin jazz, the music, and the artists — led by Essix and legendary percussionist Poncho Sanchez. » The second set features Grammy-winner Sanchez with his fragments of Latin jazz, swing, bebop, salsa, and other infectious grooves colliding and churning in a fiery swirl with dazzling results.

The Indigo Girls
Wednesday 9/23
The Indigo Girls 09/23/2015
$45.50, 55.50, 63.50
SHOW 7:00pm
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If you were in college during the 1980s, you probably saw the Indigo Girls in some small, smoke-filled basement pub and were convinced you’d stumbled into folk duet heaven. More than 30 years later, those two Georgia ladies with their husky voices and intimate, poignant lyrics are still going strong. While most artists who launched their careers in the 1980s have slipped from our collective memory, the Indigo Girls are still writing and recording, championing a number of social and environmental causes, and filling halls with devoted, multi-generational audiences.

Gleb Ivanov
Friday 9/25
Gleb Ivanov 09/25/2015
$, 20.00, 28.63, 30.40, 32.18, 37.50
SHOW 7:00pm
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The ASC is proud to treat our patrons to Gleb Ivanov, an internationally accomplished young pianist The New York Times said “is a cut above the usual, a young super-virtuoso, with musical sensitivity and an appreciation of style to go with the thunder and lightning.” As a young man in Russia, Ivanov was a protégé of Mstislav Rostropovich, appearing as soloist under the famous maestro with the Nizhny Novgorod Philharmonic.