Outstanding graduates of UAB’s piano program to perform alumni recital Feb. 22

Pianists from around the United States will return from graduate school studies to perform on the UAB Department of Music’s Hamburg Steinway D 9-foot grand piano, in celebration of Distinguished Professor of Piano Yakov Kasman’s 55th birthday.

piano students.streamFrom left to right, top to bottom: Eric Mobley, Mira Walker, Eamon Griffith, and Jacob Skiles
Photo credits: Steve Wood and Lexi Coon
Graduates of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Piano Program will perform a free alumni recital Tuesday, Feb. 22, in celebration of Distinguished Professor of Piano Yakov Kasman, DMA.

Kasman teaches in the College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Music, where he is also artist-in-residence.

These outstanding young pianists will return from their graduate school studies in Michigan, Indiana, Florida and Colorado to perform in celebration of Kasman’s 55th birthday.

The Alumni Piano Recital will be at 6 p.m. in UAB’s Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Admission is free.

The pianists are:

  • Mira Walker, who is finishing her Master of Music degree at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music;
  • Jacob Skiles, completing the Master of Music degree program at Florida State University;
  • Eamon Griffith, who graduated with a Master of Music degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in December;
  • Eric Mobley, an engineer in the Birmingham area who is also a composer and president of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance; and
  • Aleksandra Kasman, who completed the MM at The Juilliard School and is in the middle of her Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of Michigan.

The five will perform repertoire ranging from pieces by Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach to Mobley himself, including a rarely performed concerto by Issay Dobrowen, another by Sergei Prokofiev and a solo piece by Maurice Ravel. They will play the department’s 2009 Hamburg Steinway D 9-foot grand, purchased in December 2019, right before the pandemic.

UAB’s Hamburg Steinway, the concert instrument of choice for most world-class professional pianists, was purchased through an exacting selection process over the course of many months. Kasman and piano students tried out multiple instruments, which the Alabama Piano Gallery brought to their showroom from other Steinway dealers.

Walker and Skiles were scheduled to give their senior recitals on the instrument in April 2020; but those recitals had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, says Department of Music Chair Patrick Evans, D.M.

“Of the many disappointments all music faculty and students faced in the last two years, certainly one of the missed opportunities we regret the most is that several of our outstanding pianists were unable to play their senior recitals on the world-class instrument we saved for and carefully selected over the course of several years,” Evans said. “This alumni concert will be an energetic celebration of our ability to make music in person again at the highest levels, celebrating both the achievements of our students and the teaching of their UAB piano professor, Dr. Yakov Kasman.”

Kasman received his degrees from the Moscow Conservatory and was Silver Medalist at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1997, which brought him to the United States. A past recipient of UAB’s Ireland Prize for Scholarly Distinction, Kasman joined the Department of Music faculty in 2002.