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A King Celebration Concert

Media Contact:
Charlie Wade, 404-733-4847
Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

ATLANTA – December 7, 2005 - On Jan. 12, 2006 at 8 p.m. the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), NPR®, The King Center, Morehouse College, Spelman College, GE Energy and ING will present “A King Celebration,” the orchestra’s 14th annual musical tribute to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The concert will take place at Dr. King’s alma mater, Morehouse College, in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. ASO Music Director Robert Spano will conduct the concert for the fourth consecutive year. The program features the ASO; the Morehouse College Glee Club, directed by Dr. David Morrow; the Spelman College Glee Club, directed by Dr. Kevin Johnson and baritone Nmon Ford, who most recently appeared in the role of Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston. Since its inception in 1992, this annual event has become one of the most celebrated national musical tributes to Dr. King’s life and legacy. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the nationally established King holiday.

GE Energy returns for the second year as “A King Celebration” Presenting Sponsor. “GE Energy is pleased to present this musical celebration of Dr. King’s life and his work, giving us all time to reflect on the importance of his universal message,” says Kate Lee, Manager of Community Affairs for GE Energy in Atlanta. "Because we employ over 35,000 people around the world, being able to sharing this international musical observance is especially meaningful to us."

ING is this year’s Supporting Sponsor. “ING is proud to sponsor the King Celebration in Atlanta because this is about more than the legacy of a great man, and what he did for change. This event is also about inspiring leadership and success in young people. Instilling leadership and ensuring success for young people is one of ING’s core values,” says Greta Ytterbo, acting president of the ING Foundation.

"A King Celebration" is made possible through a collaboration of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, NPR, The King Center and Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. This program is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. GCA also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, the Fulton County Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The concert will be broadcast to more than 250 public radio stations internationally on NPR’s daily classical music program, Performance Today®. NPR’s Fred Child will host. For nationwide station information and broadcast times, please visit NPR’s website at

Concert Program
This year’s “A King Celebration” will feature selections from Dr. T.J. Anderson’s Slavery Documents 2, a continuation of composer Donald Sur’s 1990 oratorio, Slavery Documents, commissioned and performed by Boston’s Cantata Singers. With texts drawn mostly from historian Loren Schweninger’s collection of Southern slavery documents, the cantata reflects a variety of musical styles and influences, including jazz, blues, classical Baroque forms and African drumming. Dr. Anderson served as an ASO composer-in-residence in the 1970’s, when he was also a professor at Morehouse College. At that time, he taught Dr. Uzee Brown, who is now the chair of the College’s music department and whose arrangement of the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” will be performed on the concert program.

The program will also feature the Atlanta premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s “Dooryard Bloom,” which takes its title and text from Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd.” Inspired by Abraham Lincoln's death and funeral and the fallen of the Civil War, the piece will feature baritone Nmon Ford, for whom the piece was written. Selections by Copland and “We Shall Overcome” round out the musical tribute to Dr. King.

For the eighth consecutive year, the King Celebration Host Committee will serve an advocacy role to build awareness of the event in the community as well as generate funding for education and outreach programs of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and scholarships at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. Georgia State Representative Jo Ann McClinton will chair this effort. Over the past eight years, the Host Committees have raised a quarter-of-a million dollars to support music scholarship at both Colleges.

Tickets for “A King Celebration” are $25 for reserved seats and $7 for seniors and students. To purchase single tickets, call the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404.733.5000 or visit

Premium ticket and benefit packages are available to those who join the Host Committee. Membership levels range from $500 to $5,000. For information about Host Committee contributions and benefit tickets, contact Connor Sorenson at (404) 733-5069

Community Enrichment
As part of the Orchestra’s ongoing commitment to developing new artists within the African American community, “A King Celebration” will include community enrichment activities on the campuses of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, as well as at GE-sponsored schools Southside High School and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. ASO Conducting Fellow Laura Jackson, ASO Music Director Robert Spano, NPR’s Performance Today host Fred Child, NPR Director of Music Benjamin Roe, baritone Nmon Ford and composer Dr. T.J. Anderson are among those who will participate in a series of lectures, master classes and other events in January.

King Week in Atlanta
For details about other King Holiday events being held in Atlanta and across the nation, please visit The King Center site at

The King Center
Established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, The King Center is the official, living memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. More than 650,000 visitors from all over the world are drawn annually to the King Center to pay homage to Dr. King, view unique exhibits illustrating his life and teachings, and visit the King Center's Library, archives, his final resting place, his birth home and other facilities. For additional information, visit

Morehouse College
Ranked three times as the number one college in the nation for educating African American students by Black Enterprise magazine, and recognized by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top feeder schools for the 15 most prominent graduate and professional schools in the country, Morehouse College is the nation’s largest, private liberal arts college for men. Founded in 1867, the College enrolls approximately 3,000 students and confers bachelor’s degrees on more black men than any other institution in the world. The College offers 26 majors in three academic divisions: Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Mathematics, and Business and Economics. Morehouse offers a number of programs and activities to enhance its challenging liberal arts curriculum through the Leadership Center at Morehouse College, Morehouse Research Institute, and Andrew Young Center for International Affairs. Morehouse is one of only two Historically Black Colleges or Universities to produce three Rhodes Scholars.

Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize laureate and civil rights leader; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine; Sheldon “Spike” Lee, filmmaker and president of 40 Acres & A Mule Productions; Samuel L. Jackson, Academy Award nominated actor; Maynard H. Jackson, founder of Jackson Securities and the first African-American mayor of Atlanta; and Nima A. Warfield, the first African-American Rhodes Scholar from an Historically Black College or University.

Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is the only historically Black college in the nation
included among the top 75 on U.S. News and World Report's list of "Best Liberal Arts Colleges—Undergraduate," 2005. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this private, historically Black women's college also ranks No. 2 on Black Enterprise’s 2004 list of best colleges for African Americans and No. 3 on Mother Jones’ 2004 list of most activist campuses. With a mission that centers on academic excellence, leadership development and service, Spelman offers 26 majors and 25 minors in the Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences. Although well-known as a top liberal arts college, nearly one-third of Spelman students receive degrees in the sciences annually. The student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and more than 83 percent of the full-time faculty hold Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees. Spelman students number more than 2,186 and represent 43 states and 16 foreign countries.

The College includes among its 13,000 outstanding alumnae, civil rights attorney and Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former U.S. Foreign Service Director Ruth Davis; Pfizer Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chair of the Spelman College Board of Trustees Yvonne Jackson, critically acclaimed authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage and actress LaTanya Richardson.

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of more than 22 million Americans each week via more than 770 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and seven years of archived audio and information.

GE Energy
GE Energy ( is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technology, with 2004 revenues of $17.3 billion. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, GE Energy provides equipment, service and management solutions across the power generation, transmission and distribution, distributed power and energy rental industries. GE Energy and its employees support the arts, education and environment through contributions and volunteerism around the world.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
As the largest orchestra in the Southeastern United States, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is also one of the youngest American orchestras to achieve international prominence. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is led by its' innovative creative team of Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles. Now in its’ 61st season, the ASO performs a year-round slate of more than 250 concerts annually, including a 72-concert classical season and related series at Atlanta Symphony Hall; an annual summer pops series at Chastain Park Amphitheater, and a full schedule of educational, neighborhood and Free Parks concerts throughout the city of Atlanta.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is committed to serving its evolving community through concerts, classroom instruction, individual mentoring and coaching, professional development for teachers and events for families. The Orchestra supports 200 young musicians annually in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and Talent Development programs. Over 50,000 preschool through eighth grade children attend the ASO Young People’s Concerts (40 each year). Through its community partnerships, the ASO aims to serve the needs of a variety of audiences both in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia.

Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. A not-for-profit center for performing and visual arts, its campus comprises the Alliance Theater Company, the Atlanta College of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art, Young Audiences and the 14th Street Playhouse.

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Posted by Kara at December 16, 2005 08:22 PM

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