“Here We Are” by UAB’s Henry Panion to be performed by New York Philharmonic

“Here We Are” will be performed at the March 21 concert “Music as Change Agent,” as a representation from “centuries of repertoire” by “composers whose works both reflect and contribute to larger social issues.”

Panion4A composition by University of Alabama at Birmingham University Professor Henry Panion III, Ph.D., will be featured by the New York Philharmonic in an upcoming concert “Music as Change Agent.”

The concert’s program raises the question “What are ways in which music can spark dialogue and enact change?” Panion’s “Here We Are” was selected as a representation from “centuries of repertoire” by “composers whose works both reflect and contribute to larger social issues.” The concert will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21, in Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall.

“Here We Are” was commissioned by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and the tragic deaths of four children, often commemorated as the “Four Little Girls.” At its ASO premiere, on the annual tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., music critic Michael Huebner described Panion’s work as the “most poignant in this concert’s history.”

The New York Philharmonic is considered by many to be among the most famous orchestras in the world. Panion says that as a child he would watch the New York Philharmonic under the direction of conductor Leonard Bernstein on television, along with millions of others.  

“And to now have this same orchestra play my music is yet another ‘pinch me’ moment and one that I would have thought only a dream when I was a child,” Panion said. 

Panion teaches music orchestration and technology in the UAB College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Music, where he is director of the UAB Music Technology Program. He is best known for his longtime collaboration as conductor and arranger for music superstar Stevie Wonder.

PanionMWHenry Panion III, Ph.D.“Dr. Panion’s compositions have been performed by orchestras worldwide, and he is a widely respected conductor of all manner of music from classical to gospel, to pop and jazz; but 

there is something truly thrilling about having your work performed by the New York Philharmonic, the artistic home of Leonard Bernstein and so many world-class artists over the course of its nearly 160-year history,” said Patrick Evans, D.M., chair of the UAB Department of Music.

Panion has conducted and had his music performed by more than 50 orchestras across the globe, including England’s Royal Philharmonic, Russia’s Bolshoi Theater Orchestra and Japan’s Tokyo Philharmonic, as well as the Atlanta Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philly Pops and the National Symphony Orchestra. In addition to the New York Philharmonic, this year his works will be performed by the Houston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Nashville Symphony and the Greensboro Symphony. Most recently, the documentary “Dreams of Hope,” produced and co-directed by Panion, premiered to millions across the nation on PBS.