Sound Investment

Commission a work ... Connect with the composer.

The ASO’s Sound Investment program gives members a unique opportunity not only to help commission a new work but to see how new compositions come together. Membership in Sound Investment provides a window into the complex workings of creative minds, from inspiration to finished product; an opportunity to form relationships with some of the most interesting composers working today; and a chance to experience the place where art intersects modern life in the creation of a new musical work. 


Sound Investment is the most interesting and meaningful music experience we’ve had in Birmingham. We encourage anyone interested in music and how it comes into being to be a part of Sound Investment.
–Ellen and Fred Elsas

We invite you to learn more about Sound Investment and hope you will join us for the 2015-2016 season, featuring composer Paul Desenne.





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Why Support New Music?

Sound Investment Previous ComposersMusic being written now is shaped by the world we live in. Modern-day composers use the same technology, experience the same world events, and are exposed to the same social issues, political arguments, and cultural ideas as we are. All of these things are bound up in the creation of new music. While a live performance of a Bach cantata or Beethoven symphony allows us to experience timeless artistic achievement, contemporary works are linked to us and our world in a way older masterpieces cannot be.

The ASO has won multiple awards for its frequent performances of contemporary music, and since 2009 members of Sound Investment have helped create new works for premiere by the ASO. With these commissions, we focus not only on the work created but on developing a relationship between the composer and our community. Through multiple visits to Birmingham, composers engage with both children and adults, teaching, inspiring, and making their music accessible.  

To have the opportunity to help the ASO commission a new piece of music - and to have our name on the score! - seemed incredible to us. The patrons who commissioned the great classics were usually royalty or fabulously wealthy. But here, at a very reasonable cost, we are able to contribute to the creation of new works, meet the composers, and be present the first time the works are performed. – Jim and Joyce Cauthen





Sound Investment Membership


With your $500 Sound Investment membership, you will:

• Co-commission a 20-minute work to be premiered at the ASO Masterworks concert on April 1 & 2, 2016;

• Attend the world premiere with two complimentary tickets;

• Receive a copy of the score, signed by Paul Desenne, with your name listed as a commissioner.

You will also go behind-the-scenes of Desenne's creative process, getting to know him and discussing the work-in-progress at a series of special events:

Sound Investment Salon I: Introducing Paul Desenne
Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 5:30 p.m.

Sound Investment Salon II: Commission Update and Sneak Peek
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 5:30 p.m.

Special event: Reading Session of New Works, moderated by Paul Desenne
Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 1:30 p.m.

Sound Investment Salon III: Open Rehearsal and Q&A Session
Thursday, March 31, 2016, 11:00 a.m. (lunch provided)


Join Sound Investment today! To take advantage of this unique experience, please contact Katy Smith, Assistant Director of Development, at ksmith@alabamasymphony.com or 205-314-6912.




Paul DesenneMeet Sound Investment Composer Paul Desenne


Today's most exciting composers love and respect classical music while at the same time stretching its traditions. These composers incorporate inspiration from exotic sources and sounds in their work, bringing vitality and freshness to the orchestral repertoire.

Sound Investment composer Paul Desenne, a French-American, Venezuelan-born cellist, composer, and conductor, draws on his multicultural heritage including a love of Bach, 16th century musical techniques, and Latin American influences from the Caribbean, the Andes, and the Orinoco-Amazon river basin. He combines dance rhythms and unique colors with traditional classical forms to create an eclectic yet accessible sound.

Desenne's music will be woven into the programming and educational activities of the ASO's entire season. Read more about Desenne and listen to excerpts from his compositions by clicking here. To learn more Desenne's activities with the ASO over the coming year, please visit our project page at New Music USA by clicking here. The ASO is proud to have New Music USA's support for Desenne's education and community outreach activities.