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The 15th Annual A King Celebration Concert

Date: November 30, 2006
Contact: Raechel Alexander
Director, Media Relations, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Tel: 404-733-4846


Repertoire Includes Danielpour’s Triptych,
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Childs’ Tone Poem For Holly, and
the Choral Finale from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9

Concert to Be Broadcast Monday, January 15 on
Public Radio Stations Nationally on Performance Today,
Distributed by American Public Media in Partnership with NPR

This Event Marks the 15h Anniversary of A King Celebration —
the ASO’s Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, The King Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College present the 15th anniversary of A King Celebration, annual musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The performance, commemorating the life and work of the celebrated civil rights leader, takes place at Morehouse College, the alma mater of Dr. King, on
Thursday, January 11, at 8 p.m. The program features Richard Danielpour’s Triptych from Margaret Garner with mezzo-soprano Pamela Dillard; Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Terrence Wilson; Childs’ For Holly; and “Ode to Joy,” the Finale to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with soprano Cynthia Haymon, mezzo-soprano Pamela Dillard, tenor Vinson Cole, and bass-baritone Alfred Walker as soloists. This concert is made possible through the generous support of Target.

On Monday, January 15, 2007, the concert will be broadcast on Performance Today, which is produced and distributed by American Public Media, in partnership with NPR to more than 250 public radio stations across the nation. Fred Child will host the broadcast. For nationwide station information and broadcast times, please visit

A Host Committee for A King Celebration was formed to increase awareness of the event and to raise funds for music scholarships at Morehouse and Spelman as well as Learning Community programs of the ASO. 2007 Host Committee Co-Chairs are Juanita Baranco, one of Atlanta’s leading automotive dealers, and Veronica Biggins, Executive Management Consultant and former Assistant to the President of the United States and Director of Presidential Personnel. Past individuals and businesses who have agreed to serve on the Host Committee include baseball great Hank Aaron and his wife Billye, Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Lola & Charlie Battle, WSB-TV Anchorwoman Monica Kaufman,Turner Broadcasting Systems, Georgia-Pacific, The Coca-Cola Company, AirTran, Siemens and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Concert Program:
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano will conduct the Orchestra, members of the Spelman and Morehouse Glee Clubs, and guest soloists in a concert that opens with Richard Danielpour’s poignant “Triptych” featuring mezzo-soprano Pamela Dillard. A suite from his opera Margaret Garner, Danielpour’s “Triptych” premiered in 2005 and is based on Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” a true story about a fugitive Kentucky slave who killed her infant daughter when faced with the prospect of returning to slavery. The program also includes George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Terrence Wilson, Billy Childs’ Tone Poem For Holly, and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” the finale from Symphony No. 9—Ms. Dillard is joined by soprano Cynthia Haymon, mezzo-soprano Pamela Dillard, tenor Vinson Cole, and bass-baritone Alfred Walker as soloists in the Beethoven.

Tickets, for the January 11 performance are priced at $25 or buy one get one free and are available at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office located at 15th and Peachtree – until 3:00 p.m. the day of the concert. They can also be charged to major credit cards by calling 404-733-5000 or by visiting the ASO website at Tickets may also be purchased at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College starting at 6:30 p.m. the day of the concert. All seats are general admission.

A limited number of student tickets, priced at $10, may also be available for some Atlanta Symphony Orchestra events. A valid Student ID is required and there is a limit of one ticket per student ID.

About the soloists
American tenor Vinson Cole is internationally recognized as one of the leading artists of his generation. His career has taken him to all of the major opera houses across the globe including the Metropolitan Opera, Opera National de Paris Bastille, Teatro alla Scala Milan, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Equally celebrated for his concert appearances, Mr. Cole has been a frequent guest of the most prestigious orchestras throughout the world and has collaborated with the greatest conductors of this era such as, Christoph Eschenbach, Claudio Abbado, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, and Seiji Ozawa. Mr. Cole had an especially close working relationship with the late Herbert von Karajan, who brought the artist to the Salzburg Festival to sing the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier – the first of many performances there together. Their collaboration included works such as Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Mozart Requiem, Bruckner’s Te Deum and includes several recordings for Deutsche Grammaphon.

Mezzo-soprano Pamela Dillard made her professional operatic debut as Irina in Lost in the Stars with Boston Lyric Opera, staged by dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones. Ms. Dillard caught the international attention of critics for her stunning portrayal of the title role in Opera Theatre of Saint Louis' production of La Belle Hélène. Ms. Dillard's most recent engagements include Lily in Porgy and Bess for Atlanta Opera and Anita in West Side Story with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra during their summer concert series. She was recently presented in recital by Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, and as a guest artist at Benedict College for the recent celebration of George Walker, American composer and recipient of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize in Music. On the concert stage Ms. Dillard has appeared with symphonies across the United States including, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Colorado Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and Marin Symphony Orchestras among others. Ms. Dillard was the featured soloist in Alexander Nevsky for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and returned the following season to sing the title role in Carmen. Ms. Dillard, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, is an Adjunct Professor of Voice at Spelman College.
Cynthia Haymon made her debut in 1985 in the title role of Thea Musgrave’s Harriet: A Woman Called Moses, in the world-premiere performance for the Virginia Opera. Since then, her career has taken her around the United States to engagements with the San Francisco Opera and the Seattle Opera. In 1986 she made her European debut as Bess in Trevor Nunn’s production of Porgy and Bess at Glyndebourne, with Sir Simon Rattle. Ms. Haymon also created the role of Coretta King in the musical King, opposite Simon Estes in London’s West End. In concert, Ms. Haymon has appeared with the Israel Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, the London Symphony Orchestra under both Myung-Whun Chung and Michael Tilson Thomas, and the Cleveland Orchestra under Isaiah Jackson. She has performed in the world premieres of Portraits by Richard Danielpour, with Yo-Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax; and John Williams’ first song cycle, Seven for Luck.

Gaining international and national acclaim for his command performances, bass-baritone Alfred Walker made his La Scala debut in the 2004-05 season as Orest in Elektra, which he also sang at Spain’s San Sebastian Festival. He also joined San Francisco Opera for Le Grand Macabre and Atlanta Opera as Colline in La Bohème and presented recitals at the Manchester Music Festival. He is a frequent presence on the Metropolitan Opera stage, having appeared in numerous performances since his 1997 debut as Gregorio in Roméo and Juliette, including Samson et Dalila, Pelléas et Mélisande, Les Troyens, and L'Enfant et les Sortilèges. In addition to his vast operatic repertoire, Mr. Walker is an equally versatile concert artist. He made his American Symphony Orchestra debut at in Alice Tully Hall singing Mahler's Kindertoten-Lieder and Rückert-Lieder. Other concert performances include his debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis in Beatrice and Benedict, performances with the Boston Symphony in Carnegie Hall, and a concert performance of Strauss' Salome at the Tanglewood Festival with Seiji Ozawa. Mr. Walker’s oratorio performances include the Verdi Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. A graduate of Dillard University, Loyola University, and the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Program, the New Orleans native is the recipient of many distinguished awards including the George London Foundation, Palm Beach Opera Competition, Houston Opera Studio's Eleanor McCollum Competition, and the prestigious Sullivan Foundation career grant.

One of today’s most gifted instrumentalists, pianist Terrence Wilson has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and other major orchestras on three continents, working with such noted conductors as Marin Alsop, Christoph Eschenbach, Neeme Järvi, Yoel Levi, Andrew Litton, Jesús López-Cobos and Robert Spano. Among his concert and recital engagements this season, he will give the world premiere of Michael Daugherty’s concerto, Deux ex Machina, with the Charlotte Symphony in March. The Bronx-born pianist has received numerous awards and prizes, including the SONY ES Award for Musical Excellence, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the Juilliard Petschek Award. Mr. Wilson is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he studied with Yoheved Kaplinsky.

Robert Spano is recognized as one of the brightest and most imaginative conductors of his generation, with guest appearances with nearly every major North American orchestra, and is now in his sixth season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Since he began his tenure in Atlanta in September 2001, Mr. Spano has conducted the orchestra in seven recordings for Telarc, which have won three Grammy Awards, and has recorded Ainadamar for Deutsche Grammophon. He has energized the orchestra’s programming, explored new concert formats, and revived its commissioning program with new works from Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, David del Tredici, and Michael Gandolfi. A champion of the works of Osvaldo Golijov, Mr. Spano conducted the world premiere of Ainadamar in Tanglewood and the American premiere of Golijov’s La Pasión según San Marcos at Symphony Hall in Boston.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has become one of America’s leading orchestras, well known for its impressive list of Grammy-winning recordings and the excellence of its live performances. The foremost cultural organization in the southeastern United States, it serves as a cornerstone for artistic development in the region. Under the creative partnership of Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles since September 2001, the ASO performs more than 200 concerts each year to a combined audience of more than a half million. Emerging from the partnership is Spano’s Atlanta School of Composers, which includes Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, David Del Tredici, Michael Gandolfi, and a multi-year performance/recording project with Osvaldo Golijov. The ASO is one of the few American orchestras with a continuing association with a major record label, Telarc, which has resulted in more than 100 recordings, garnering 23 Grammy Awards. During the 2005-2006 season, Robert Spano and Donald Runnicles have conducted the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in concerts at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, as well as at the Ojai and Ravinia Festivals.

The ASO’s 2006-2007 season—an expansion of the Creative Partnership between Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles—includes such highlights as the Atlanta premieres of two ASO co-commissions: John Harbison’s Concerto for Double Bass and Richard Danielpour’s Pastime; collaborations with such composers as Michael Gandolfi (ASO 2006-2007 Composer in Residence), Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis and John Adams, who will lead the ASO and ASO Chorus in his Pulitzer Prize-winning work On the Transmigration of Souls; a semi-staged presentation of Bach’s Passion According to St. John conducted by Mr. Spano; an all-British program conducted by Mr. Runnicles and recorded by Telarc that features works by Peter Maxwell Davies, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Benjamin Britten; a five-city Orchestra tour of Florida led by Mr. Spano; and the release of two new discs from Telarc—a CD of works by Wagner and R. Strauss, conducted by Mr. Runnicles, and Sibelius’ Kullervo, conducted by Mr. Spano.

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., leader of America’s greatest nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace.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, gift shop and other facilities. Located in Atlanta’s Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, The King Center utilizes diverse communications media, including books, audio and video cassettes, film, television, CDs and web pages, to reach out far beyond its physical boundaries to educate people all over the world about Dr. King’s life, work and his philosophy and methods of nonviolent conflict-reconciliation and social change.

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. 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 and the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.. Morehouse is one of only two Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) to produce three Rhodes Scholars.

Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil and human rights non-violent leader; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine; Shelton “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 a HBCU.

Founded in 1881, Spelman College is the only historically Black college in the nation to be included among U.S. News & World Report's top 75 "Best Liberal Arts Colleges — Undergraduate," 2006, as well as No. 1 in social mobility on Washington Monthly’s best liberal arts college list. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this private, historically Black women's college boasts outstanding alumnae, including Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis; authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage and actress LaTanya Richardson. More than 83 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees and the student-faculty ratio is 12:1. Annually, nearly one-third of Spelman students receive degrees in the sciences. The students number more than 2,186 and represent 43 states and 34 foreign countries.

Target gives more than $2 million each week to strengthen families and communities across the nation, with a focus on education, the arts, social services and other vital community partnerships. Since opening its first store in 1962, Target has partnered with nonprofit organizations to help meet community needs. Target is dedicated to celebrating diversity and believes in the power of partnerships with leading cultural institutions to foster creativity, promote learning and build stronger communities. Target celebrates diversity all year long through its Dream in Color campaign, which recognizes the history and heritage of the many diverse communities that make up the world today. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History Month, Target is sponsoring special programs and events throughout the country to encourage all to Dream in Color. In addition, Target’s nationwide network of team members and retiree volunteers donate over 315,000 hours to more than 7,000 community-based projects each year.

Program Information:
Thursday, January 11 at 8:00 p.m.
King Memorial Chapel, Morehouse College
Robert Spano, conductor
Terrence Wilson, pianist
Cynthia Haymon, soprano
Pamela Dillard, mezzo-soprano
Vinson Cole, tenor
Guest Artists, to be announced
Spelman College Glee Club
Morehouse College Glee Club
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra


Robert Spano leads the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 15th annual concert celebration, which honors the humanity and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

DANIELPOUR Triptych from Margaret Garner
GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue
CHILDS Tone Poem for Holly
BEETHOVEN “Ode to Joy,” Finale to Symphony No. 9

General Admission Tickets: Buy one, Get One Free

Target is the presenting sponsor for A King Celebration.


Posted by at January 5, 2007 07:06 PM

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