Marin Alsop leads Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Soulful Symphony and Baltimore City College Choir in State of Maryland’s 23rd Annual Tribute Concert to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., January 7-8
Former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume narrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches in Joseph Schwantner’s New Morning for the World
BSO and The Stoop Storytelling Series announce “Stories from the Stoop,” A contest for local storytellers
Baltimore, Md. (November 24, 2008)— Music Director Marin Alsop will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Soulful Symphony and Baltimore City College Choir in the State of Maryland’s 23rd Annual Tribute Concert in celebration of what would have been the 80th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The annual tribute concert will also be performed at The Music Center at Strathmore for the first time on Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. Presented in partnership with Maryland’s Commission on African American History and Culture, this year’s tribute features Joseph Schwanter’s New Morning for the World—a musical setting of Dr. King’s stirring speeches, narrated by former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume. See below for biographies and complete program information.
Inspired by the speeches that incited the civil rights movement, Joseph Schwanter’s New Morning for the World remains a compelling and relevant call for change. Originally premiered in 1982, Schwanter’s piece for narrator and orchestra has since entered the standard repertory of orchestras nationwide. Noted dignitary, author, TV personality and former NAACP President, Kweisi Mfume, lends his respected voice as narrator.
Also featured will be a selection from Soulful Symphony founder and director Darin Atwater’s Evolution of a People. This work takes the audience on a musical journey through the history of African Americans, from life in Africa to slavery to contemporary America. “It’s difficult, because it’s so horrific,” Atwater said of his research into struggles of African Americans throughout the ages. “But you want that conviction to come through in your art. So it’s like an actor—a lot of times, people try to stay on the surface of things, but you really can’t portray the reality of the horror without immersing yourself in the pain that they must have gone through.”
BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellow Joseph Young will conduct Michael Abels’ Global Warming. Originally premiered in 1991, the piece focuses not on climate change as the title might imply, but rather on continued improvement in relations between people from disparate ethnicities. “I was intrigued by the similarities between folk music of divergent cultures and decided to write a piece that celebrates these common threads as well as the sudden improvement in international relations that was occurring,” explains Abels. “Since the piece was commissioned for an orchestra in the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona, Global Warming was the title that seemed to incorporate all these ideas best.”
City College Choir will perform two a cappella works, including I Have Overcome the World and Signs of Judgment. The concert concludes with Richard Smallwood’s rousing Total Praise performed by full choir and orchestra.
Stories from the Stoop: BSO and The Stoop Storytelling Series announce a storytelling competition
Tell your story! The Baltimore Symphony, in partnership with The Stoop Storytelling Series, invites individuals of all ages to tell us a true, personal tale recounting how Dr. King’s legacy has impacted each individual’s life. The first prize winner will be featured in the BSO’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute concerts on January 7 and 8, 2009. See below for complete contest rules and instructions.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world’s leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of Conductor Emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008 and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California
In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award, in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 Musical America named her “Conductor of the Year.”
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms and Barber orchestral works. She is currently recording the Dvorak symphonies with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition in New York.as music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California.
Kweisi Mfume, narrator
Kweisi Mfume was born, raised and educated in Baltimore. Forced to drop out of school at the age of 16 after the death of his mother, he took on odd jobs to help provide for the upkeep of his three younger sisters. He later attended Morgan State University, graduating magna cum laude and earned his master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. Mfume has held positions on the Baltimore City Council (1979-1986) and the House of Representatives (1986-1996). He was elected president and CEO of the NAACP in 1996. During that time he significantly raised the national profile of the NAACP while helping to restore its prominence among the nation’s civil rights organizations. He currently serves on the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees, the Morgan State University Board of Regents, the African American Advisory Board of PepsiCo and the National Advisory Council of Boy Scouts of America.
For nine years he hosted the award-winning television show, "The Bottom Line,” and for five years he hosted the nationally syndicated NBC-Hearst TV special “The Remarkable Journey.” He is the recipient of the 2005 Telly Award for best independent TV documentary. He has made appearances as a guest commentator on the ABC “This Week Program” and currently writes a national column on current events for BlackAmericaWeb.com. He is the recipient of ten honorary doctorate degrees and hundreds of other awards, proclamations and citations. His best-selling autobiography is entitled No Free Ride.
Baltimore City College Choir—Linda Hall, director
Baltimore City College Choir (BCC Choir) has maintained a reputation of musical excellence since it began more than 168 years ago. Initiated with the triumphant voices of the male glee club barreling the hymn, “Castle on the Hill,” the tradition of singing has continued with the development of the Choir and an elaborate choral program that has garnered a reputation as one of the finest student ensembles in the region. Throughout the years, the BCC Choir is grateful to have performed with such prestigious organizations as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Gallagher Fest, the Morgan State University Choir and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. The Choir joined the MSU Choir and Baltimore Choral Arts Society again in fall 2006 to perform Let My People Go: Journey of the Underground Railroad. On several occasions, the Choir has performed at a number of U.S. Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies. In addition to these accomplishments, the Singing Knights were honored to present an impressionable performance at the White House. The choir has also recorded four CD’s: Vision for the Millennium, Living the Vision: The Europe Tour, A New Vision: Great Things and Live in Milan.
Joseph Young, BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellow
Joseph F. Young is currently serving as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra-Peabody Conservatory Conducting Fellow, a prestigious new conductor-training program developed and managed by the BSO and Peabody Conservatory with the aid of the League of American Orchestras. The program supports the musical and leadership development of exceptionally talented conductors in the early stages of their professional careers. Since his arrival, he has covered concerts led by music director Marin Alsop and guest conductor John Adams, H.K. Gruber, Arild Remmereit, and Thomas Ades. In January of 2008, he made his subscription debut with the BSO performing Mozart's Magic Flute Overture as the opening work on of Maestra Alsop's programs.
In February 2006, Joseph was a participant in the League of American Orchestras Donald Thulean Conducting Workshop in Los Angeles, where his mentors were Michael Morgan and Daniel Lewis. In the summer of 2006, he participated in the Cabrillo Music Festival Conductor Workshop where he first met Marin Alsop and once again worked with mentor Daniel Lewis. Joseph is the 2008 recipient of the Sir Georg Solti Foundation Career Grant for young conductors. Joseph Young received a bachelor's of music degree with emphasis in music education from the University of South Carolina. He is currently pursuing graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory and will earn an Artist Diploma upon graduation in 2009. His primary conducting teachers are Marin Alsop, Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar.
The Stoop Storytelling Series
The Stoop Storytelling Series is a popular bimonthly event in which seven storytellers from all walks of life—TV hosts to waitresses to writers—get seven minutes each to tell a true, personal tale on a shared theme in front of a live audience. The Stoop is driven by the belief that there is enlightenment, inspiration, and good old-fashioned entertainment to be gained from both telling and listening to personal stories. Learn more at www.stoopstorytelling.com.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
State of Maryland’s 23rd Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – The Music Center at Strathmore
Marin Alsop, conductor
Kweisi Mfume, narrator
John Rosamond and James Weldon Johnson: Lift Every Voice and Sing
Joseph Schwantner: New Morning for the World
Darin Atwater: Evolution of a People
Michael Abels: Global Warming
Richard Smallwood: Total Praise
Monologue by “Stories from the Stoop” First Prize Winner
Tickets for these concerts range from $15 to $55, and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444 or 410.783.8000 or www.BSOmusic.org.
Stories from the Stoop: BSO and The Stoop Storytelling Series FULL CONTEST DETAILS
To Enter: Send your story idea concept and contact information (full name, phone number and address) to TellYourStory@BSOmusic.org. The DEADLINE is Friday, December 17, 2008. Stories should be true, personal tales that recount how Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy has influenced the storyteller’s life. The story should be no longer than 5 minutes. This is not an essay, a lecture or a motivational presentation, but a true story about an event, an incident, or a turning point in your life that reflects the legacy of Dr. King. Don't try to tell us your life story--that's not possible in five minutes. Instead, tell us a story from your life. To hear examples from other storytellers featured in The Stoop Storytelling Series, visit www.stoopstorytelling.com. Finalists will be contacted to tell their story to our panel in person. The first prize winner will be coached prior to the performance about how to best deliver and edit their tale to most effectively reach audiences.
Questions? Please contact Laura Farmer, BSO Public Relations Manager, at 410-783-8024 or LFarmer@BSOmusic.org.