Boston-based concert pianist Miki Sawada will travel across Alabama with her own piano from December 1 – December 14 as part of the Gather Hear Tour. Sawada will perform 9 free public concerts in 7 towns and cities across the state, and also visit local public schools and Alabama prisons. Performances in our area are: December 4 at 6p.m. at Marion Art Center, presented by Main Street Marion, and December 7 at 5:30pm in Selma at Edmundite Missions Bullock Center.
Through the Gather Hear Tour, Sawada is on a mission to perform in all 50 states, inspiring human connection across political and socioeconomic divides. The project was launched in 2017 in Alaska, and has since reached thousands in West Virginia, Utah, Massachusetts, and Louisiana. The idea of Gather Hear came to Sawada a week after the 2016 presidential election, when she – a Japanese native who immigrated to America – despaired over the reality of a divided country. She looked for ways to use classical music to understand our country better through concerts that are personal, intimate, and welcoming to all. By taking classical music outside of formal concert halls and into “everyday” spaces, presenting it in a friendly and inclusive manner, Sawada aims to break down typical barriers of entry to classical music and create occasions for us to experience a shared humanity.
Gather Hear’s success relies on partnerships with local organizations. In Alabama, Sawada collaborates with arts or social service organizations who are passionate about making positive change in their local communities. Gather Hear Alabama’s presenting partner is InToto Creative Arts Forum in Birmingham, who provides arts classes in homeless shelters around the city. Other partners include Alabama Prison Arts & Education Program and Coleman Center for the Arts.
Sawada says of Gather Hear Alabama, “It has been such a joy to plan this tour, learning about all these Alabama organizations who are doing incredible and inspiring work, often fighting odds against them. The people who run these organizations have been enthusiastic and grateful that I’m bringing music to their communities, and I feel like they’re already my friends. I can’t wait to be in Alabama sharing my music and getting to know everyone. ” Sawada’s concert program features African American composers alongside Europeans, interspersed with poetry readings that reflect Alabama. This tour is made possible in part by a grant from Alabama State Council on the Arts. Gather Hear Alabama is a project of Gather Hear, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to deliver professional quality, live, inclusive classical music experiences to people who may otherwise not have access to the art form.
Miki Sawada is an international concert pianist based in Boston, Massachusetts, who has performed in North America, Europe, and Asia at venues such as: Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall,Roulette Brooklyn, and Helsinki Music Centre. Sawada holds degrees from Yale School of Music, Eastman School of Music, and Northwestern University.
12/3, 3pm: Coleman Center for the Arts [York]
12/4, 6pm: Marion Art Center [Marion]
12/5, 2pm: Firehouse Ministries [Birmingham]
12/7, 5:30pm: Edmundite Missions Bullock Center [Selma]
12/8, Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women and Staton Correctional Facility [Wetumpka and Elmore]
12/9, 7pm: Elba Theatre [Elba]
12/11, 6:30pm: Camden School of Arts & Technology [Camden]
12/12, 11am: Pathways Home [Birmingham]
12/12, 5:30pm: Avenue D Events [Birmingham]
12/14, 7pm: Georgiana Miki Sawada will perform in Marion on Decem- Opry House [Georgiana