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December 7, 2009
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra contacts: Melissa A.E. Sanders, (404) 733-4846,

Laura D. Soldati, (404) 733-4105,


ASO Music Director Robert Spano To Lead Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
And Morehouse And Spelman College Glee Clubs Southern Company’s Marsha Sampson-Johnson Named 2010 Host Committee Chair

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will perform the 18th annual musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “A King Celebration” on Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. The performance, commemorating the life and work of the celebrated civil rights leader, will take place in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel of Morehouse College, the alma mater of Dr. King.

The program will feature the world-premiere of Wynton Marsalis’s Blues Symphony; Part I of Slavery Documents by Donald Sur; Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, and the traditional “We Shall Overcome.” The concert will be broadcast to nearly 250 radio stations across the country on American Public Media’s Performance Today, hosted by Fred Child, on Monday, January 18, 2010. For station information and broadcast times, please visit

This concert is made possible through the generous support of Target, UPS, and AGCO. Marsha Sampson-Johnson, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Southern Company, chairs the 2010 Host Committee, which secures sponsorships and fundraising for the event.

A King Celebration raises funds for music scholarships at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, as well as Learning Community programs of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. For more information about purchasing host tickets or supporting A King Celebration, please contact 404.733.5069.
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Music Director Robert Spano, now in his ninth season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, is recognized internationally as one of the most imaginative conductors of his generation. Since 2001 he has invigorated and expanded the Orchestra’s repertoire while elevating the ensemble to new levels of international prominence and acclaim . . . (more)
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, now in its 65th season, is considered one of America’s leading orchestras, known for the excellence of its live performances, presentations, renowned choruses, and its impressive list of Grammy® Award-winning recordings… (more)

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.

Morehouse College, founded in 1867, is known for producing great leaders. It was recently recognized as one of the top feeder schools to the 15 most prominent graduate and professional programs in the nation by The Wall Street Journal, called “One of the best Southeastern colleges” by The Princeton Review and ranked “America’s Hottest College for Men” by Kaplan-Newsweek. As the nation’s largest, private liberal arts college for men, the College offers 26 majors in three academic divisions: Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Mathematics, and Business Administration and Economics. 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 of 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 an HBCU.

Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective, liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this historically black college boasts a 79 percent graduation rate, and outstanding alumnae such as Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former 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 average faculty to student ratio is 12:1. More than 2,100 students attend Spelman. For more information, visit

Host Committee Chair Marsha Sampson-Johnson is senior vice president and chief diversity officer for Southern Company, the premier super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. Prior to being named diversity officer in February of 2005, Marsha was vice president of the Birmingham Division, the largest of Alabama Power Company's six geographic business units. She was named to the division leadership position after serving as vice president for Customer Services and call center operations. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, her freshman and sophomore undergraduate studies were at Spelman College in Atlanta. She received her BA degree in Political Science and Government at Jacksonville University; and did graduate studies at Florida State University as a fellow of both the American Political Science Association and the National Institute for Mental Health. She is a 1999 graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program (AMP 157) and a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors.

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General admission tickets for “A King Celebration” are $25 or $7 for students. Tickets are available in advance, and until 3:00 p.m. at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office located at 15th and Peachtree Streets, by calling (404) 733-5000, or by visiting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's secure 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. on the day of the concert. A valid Student ID is required for purchase of student tickets.

* * *
Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Morehouse College
Thursday, January 14, 2010, 8:00 p.m.*
Robert Spano, Conductor
Nili Riemer, Soprano
Christin-Marie Hill, Mezzo-soprano
Rodrick Dixon, Tenor
Terry Cook, Baritone
Morehouse College Glee Club,
Dr. David Morrow, Director
Spelman College Glee Club
Dr. Kevin Johnson, Director
SUR Slavery Documents, Part I
BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3
TRADITIONAL (Uzee Brown, Jr.) “We Shall Overcome”
* Broadcast on American Public Media’s Performance Today on January 18, 2010. For station information and broadcast times, please visit

# # #
Additional contacts:
Alicia Lurry, Senior Communications Specialist, Spelman College
(404) 270-5893,

Terrilyn Simmons, Media Relations Coordinator, Spelman College
(404) 270-5822,

Toni Mosley, Public Relations Director, Morehouse College
(404) 681 2800 x3788,

Elise Durham, Media Relations Manager, Morehouse College
(404) 507-8648,

Posted by edurham at December 17, 2009 04:47 PM

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