Award-winning UAB pianists to perform with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra on April 16

For this free inaugural ASO/UAB Music Concerto Winners concert, alumna Mira Walker ’20 and graduating senior Dina Kasman will each play a different piano concerto by Sergei Prokofiev.

mira Walker RIMira WalkerTwo pianists studying at the University of Alabama at Birmingham will perform with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, April 16.

College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Music alumna Mira Walker ’20 and graduating senior Dina Kasman, both expert pianists, will each play a different piano concerto by Sergei Prokofiev.

This inaugural ASO/UAB Music Concerto Winners concert will be conducted by ASO Assistant Conductor Kevin Fitzgerald. The 7 p.m. performance will be in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. This is a free concert with general admission seating; no advance tickets are required.

In the spring of 2020, ASO Principal Conductor Maestro Carlos Izcaray and Maestro Fitzgerald auditioned UAB Department of Music students for the opportunity to perform a concerto or aria with the ASO. Walker, then a senior, and Kasman, then a sophomore, were the winners of those auditions, and were scheduled to perform in April 2020. The performance was canceled.

Walker went on to the Master of Music program in piano performance at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. 

Dina RIDina KasmanWhen Fitzgerald reached out to Department of Music Chair Patrick Evans, D.M., about reviving the concert, Evans and Distinguished Professor in Music Yakov Kasman, DMA, worked together with the ASO staff to realize it. Kasman, a Van Cliburn silver medalist who directs UAB’s piano program, is Dina Kasman’s father.

Fortunately, both Dina Kasman and Walker were working on different concerti by Sergei Prokofiev: Kasman on Piano Concerto No. 2 and Walker on Piano Concerto No. 3. 

Both pieces are among “the most challenging and thrilling in all of the piano/orchestral repertoire,” Evans said.

“Of all the lost opportunities we faced as a Department of Music over the last two years, this was one of the most disappointing, because of the professional performance these two exemplary students were forfeiting,” Evans said. “We are grateful to Maestro Fitzgerald and the ASO to be able to present an even more exciting repertoire than it had originally programmed, and to bring Mira back to campus in the month that Dina is giving her senior recital and graduating.”

Walker was, and Kasman is, in the UAB Honors College. Kasman will graduate from UAB Saturday, April 30.

Dina Kasman has announced she too will pursue her Master of Music degree in piano with Professor of Piano Norman Krieger at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music and has accepted an associate instructor position there.

“I am so unbelievably grateful for my time at UAB and in Birmingham,” Kasman said on her announcement made to social media. “I am so overwhelmed by the support I have received and am thankful for the people and opportunities that made UAB the best place for my undergraduate degree. A special thank you goes out to my dad for the past 11 years of endless hours and support as my teacher and mentor.”