868 6th street west, Birmingham, AL 35204
The Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra exists to educate and give pleasure to the public by performing a repertoire of classical music composed especially for chamber orchestra, music not otherwise heard in Birmingham. One of the few such orchestras in the Southeast, RMCO was founded 30 years ago to provide a musical outlet for skilled players, conductors, and soloists in the community. Numbering about 50, the players are drawn from all walks of life and include students from area colleges, a physics professor, an emergency room physician, a dentist, and several research scientists at UAB, as well as band directors and string teachers throughout the community. Ranging in age from 16 to over 80, we are bound together by a passion that leads us to work diligently on concert materials for the sake of the music and for the joy of creating music together as an ensemble. Most of us studied our instruments seriously in university music departments and at conservatories before seeking other sources of income.
We have had the privilege of working with superb conductors and soloists, all of whom have had illustrious careers. Les Fillmer, music director of the orchestra for eight years, is now conductor for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s State of Alabama Ballet productions and for the Gadsden Symphony; David Itkin is music director of the Las Vegas and Abilene Philharmonic Orchestras and director of orchestral studies at the University of North Texas College of Music; Wes Kenney is director of the Fort Collins Symphony and winner of the 2007 Varna International Conductors Competition; and Tom Hinds is Music Director for the Montgomery Symphony, to mention a few. Our soloists have included Henry Rubin (original conductor of the orchestra), a solo violinist and now teacher in Houston; Allison Lee, a concert pianist who played many times with the group; and Michael Kimber, a violist and at one time a member of the Kronos Quartet. We were thrilled to have many of our conductors, soloists and instrumentalists return to Birmingham in 2000 to perform with the orchestra in a gala concert in celebration of our 20th anniversary.
Since we are made up of members of the community, we strive to be an integral part of our community as well. In order to reach a wider range of audiences, we move about each year, performing in different places. We have played for the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Linn Park, combined with the strings of Jacksonville State for a performance at Anniston High School, worked with pianist Anthony Pattin of Montevallo for a concert at Palmer Auditorium, and been joined by the choirs of Talladega College and Parker High School in a concert of music by black composers at the 16th Street Baptist Church. We have also performed at the Hoover and Homewood Public Libraries, many area churches, and at City Stages. For many years, the orchestra was based at the Unitarian Church, but we now work in conjunction with Birmingham Southern College, where we have our rehearsals and perform each spring with the student soloist winners of the Frances and Dorsey Whittington Concerto/Aria Competition. Each year we also present concerts of small ensemble works at the Birmingham Museum of Art. As a service to the community and to make our performances of live, classical music available to everyone, our musicians and staff are all volunteers. There is no admission charge for our concerts, although donations are much appreciated. We are grateful to all our donors and supporters for making it possible for us to share our love of music with the community.