New seasons lights up year for Alys Stephens Center

By on January 20, 2014

For the second half of the 2013-2014 season, the Alys Stephens Center,  1200 10th Ave. South, has selected intriguing young classical performers Narek Arutyunian and Ji, Birmingham’s own Yakov and Aleksandra Kasman in a four-hand piano program, thrilling dance from Ailey II, and diverse music from acts including the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Taj Mahal, The Robert Cray Band and John Prine with guest Holly Williams, which span bluegrass, blues, country and folk.  The Viva Health Starlight Gala will feature Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers with Edie Brickell.



Narek Arutyunian

1121_ALYS2014_asc_narek_arutyunian_bychristiansteiner2_WEBThursday, Jan. 23, 2014 
Narek Arutyunian, clarinet, accompanied by Mariko Furukawa, piano, 7 p.m., in ArtPlay. This performance is part of the Patty McDonald ArtPlay Parlor Series featuring Young Concert Artists. The evening’s program is set to feature Jacob Weinberg’s “Hebrew Melodies in the form of a Suite”; Aaron Copland’s “Sonata for clarinet and piano”; Robert Schumann’s “3 Romances,” Op. 94; Marius Constant’s “For Clarinet”; and Paul Schoenfield’s “Sonatina for Klezmer, clarinet and piano.”

Yakov and Aleksandra Kasman

1121_ALYS2014_asc_yakovsashakasman_FFriday, Feb. 7, 2014
 Yakov and Aleksandra Kasman, two-piano recital, 8 p.m. in UAB’s ASC. The ASC proudly presents this exciting “four-hands” evening featuring an all-Rachmaninoff program of music. Experiencing a two-piano performance with Yakov Kasman and his daughter Aleksandra is the perfect way to appreciate the texture and grace of the Russian composer’s sound.


Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014
 ArtPlay presents Make It Happen Performing Ensemble’s “Celebrate!” with shows at 10 and 11:30 a.m., in ASC. This performance by the MIH Ensemble celebrating Black History Month is researched, written and performed by local middle and high school students under the direction of Alicia Johnson-Williams.

Robert Cray

1121_ALYS2014_asc_robertcray_WEBFriday, Feb. 14, 2014
 — The Robert Cray Band, 8 p.m., in ASC. Spend Valentine’s Day with the ASC and legendary rock/blues icon Robert Cray for an unforgettable night of music. Known for blazing live performances, Cray is one of the greatest guitarists of his generation. With five Grammy awards, 15 nominations, millions of record sales worldwide and thousands of sold-out performances under his belt, this incredible artist shows no signs of slowing down.

Carolina Chocolate Drops

1121_ALYS2014_asc_carolina_chocdrops_WEBFriday, Feb. 28, 2014 — 
Carolina Chocolate Drops, 8 p.m. South. Making their debut engagement at the ASC, Carolina Chocolate Drops are artists renowned for delivering a modern take on a traditional sound. Their new recording, “Leaving Eden,” was produced by Nashville stalwart Buddy Miller, the go-to guy for artists ranging from Robert Plant to Emmylou Harris. On the recording and supporting tour, their new repertoire incorporates more blues, jazz and folk balladry alongside brilliantly rendered string-band tunes.

Taj Mahal

1121_ALYS2014_asc_tajmahal_0WEBSaturday, March 22, 2014
Taj Mahal, 8 p.m. Blues and world music man Taj Mahal makes his second visit to the ASC. This composer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist is one of the most prominent and influential figures in late 20th century blues and roots music. Though his career began more than four decades ago with American blues, he has broadened his artistic scope over the years to include music representing virtually every corner of the world — west Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the Hawaiian Islands and so much more. Over the years, his passion and curiosity have led him around the world, and the resulting global perspective is reflected in his music.

Ailey II

1121_ALYS2014_asc_aileyII_gentry-george_photo-by-Eduardo-Patino_WEBFriday, March 28, 2014
Ailey II, 8 p.m., in ASC. Ailey II is universally recognized for merging the spirit and energy of the most talented young dancers with the passion and creative vision of today’s outstanding emerging choreographers. The company embodies Alvin Ailey’s pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training and community programs for all people.

Marcus Roberts Trio

1121_ALYS2014_asc_marcusroberts_WEBThursday, April 10, 2014
Jazz Essentials and Marcus Roberts Trio: Ragtime and Early New Orleans Jazz, part of a Journey through the History of Jazz hosted by UAB Artist-in-Residence Eric Essix, 7 p.m., in ASC.  Jazz Essentials is a new, innovative series devoted to honoring the rich history of jazz music and bringing the best artists in contemporary jazz to Birmingham.

John Prine

1121_ALYS2014_asc_john_prine_SFriday, April 11, 2014 — 
John Prine with special guest Holly Williams, 8 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. Prine has been at the top of the ASC’s artist “wish list” for some time. Now he will make his debut performance in the acoustically pristine Jemison Concert Hall — the perfect setting for an artist like Prine. More than four decades after his remarkable debut, Prine has stayed at the top of his game, both as a performer and as a songwriter. Special guest Williams has proved she can forge her own path as a singer, songwriter and artist, with three widely acclaimed studio releases — “The Ones We Never Knew” in 2004, “Here with Me” in 2009 and “The Highway” in 2013 — and inspiring live performances.


1121_ALYS2014_asc_ji_bychristiansteiner_WEBThursday, May 1, 2014
Ji, piano, 7 p.m., in ArtPlay. This performance is part of the Patty McDonald ArtPlay Parlor Series featuring Young Concert Artists. Ji’s program for the evening is slated to feature Chopin’s Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 26 in E-flat major, Op. 81a (“Les adieux”), and Ravel’s La Valse

Light Dreams

1121_ALYS2014_LightDreamsThursday, Friday and Saturday, May 8, 9 and 10, 2014 — 
Light Dreams II, 7:30 p.m. nightly, outdoors on the Engel Plaza at ASC. FREE. Join the ASC and some of Birmingham’s most innovative artists for the second annual Light Dreams festival, a free celebration of art, music, dance and light. This year, an even bigger team of artists will use the ASC as a canvas for their digitally projected artworks and large-scale light installations. The entire southern façade of the ASC building will once again be wrapped in fabric and transformed into a projection screen.

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell

SteveMartinSteepCanyonRangersSunday, June 8, 2014
2014 Viva Health Starlight Gala: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell, 8 p.m., in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.  The ensemble will perform songs from its new album, “Love Has Come for You.” The performance will showcase original material performed by Martin and Brickell, along with the unique hybrid of bluegrass and comedy that Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers have been delighting audiences with at their sold-out, critically acclaimed shows. “Love Has Come for You” offers 13 eloquently “rootsy” Martin/Brickell compositions that combine the former’s inventive, expressive, five-string banjo work with the latter’s heart-tugging vocals and vivid, detail-rich lyrics.

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