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Atlanta Symphony Celebrates 20th Anniversary of ‘A King Celebration’ Concert with Cellist Yo-Yo Ma

Spelman College


Media Contact(s):

Terrilyn Simmons
(404) 270-5822

Melissa A.E. Sanders
(404) 733-4846

Tribute concert continues the Atlanta Symphony partnership with the King Center, Morehouse and Spelman Colleges

ATLANTA (Dec. 19, 2011) – The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its annual “A King Celebration” concert, a musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Thursday, January 12, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. The performance, commemorating the life and work of the celebrated civil rights leader, will take place in Atlanta Symphony Hall at the Woodruff Arts Center.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano will lead the Orchestra in this musical tribute which will include acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed narrating Joseph Schwantner’s New Morning for the World. The Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs will sing Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio, and “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” from Brahms’s A German Requiem. The concert will also include the traditional Elijah Rock and We Shall Overcome.

“Our annual ‘A King Celebration’ concert has been one of Atlanta’s greatest traditions for 20 years,” said Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President Stanley E. Romanstein, Ph. D. “This musical tribute not only honors the memory of this legendary civil rights leader, but also unites the Atlanta community. We are grateful for our ongoing partnership with the King Center, Spelman College, and Morehouse College, and we’d also like to thank Delta Air Lines, UPS, and Suntrust for helping us bring this meaningful event to music lovers in our community and throughout the U.S.”

“As a global airline headquartered in Atlanta for the past 70 years, Delta is fortunate to see, firsthand, the cultural and civic impact Dr. King had on local, national, and international levels,” said Delta Air Lines Director of External Affairs and Community Relations Scarlet Pressley-Brown. “We are proud to have supported the newly dedicated King Memorial, of our support of Morehouse students through the Joseph E. Lowery International Leadership Scholarship, and to support the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra through this important event highlighting the late Dr. and Mrs. King’s deep and personal love of classical orchestral music.”

“UPS is proud to support the Atlanta Symphony's ‘A King Celebration" concert,’” said The UPS Foundation President Ken Sternad. “There are many things that combine to make our city great, and the symphony is certainly one important element.”

“SunTrust is proud of its long history in the Atlanta community, and in particular its support of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,” said SunTrust President and CEO William H. Rogers, Jr. “We believe a strong sense of community leads to even stronger relationships, and cannot imagine a better way to unite and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., than through the gift of music.”

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the “A King Celebration” concerts, the performance will be broadcast live on American Public Radio with host Fred Child and guest host Lois Reitzes of Atlanta’s WABE 90.1 FM. In addition, the concert will be broadcast to nearly 250 radio stations across the country on American Public Media’s Performance Today on Monday, January 16, 2012. For station information and broadcast times, please visitperformancetoday.publicradio.org. This concert is made possible through the generous support of Delta Air Lines, UPS, and SunTrust Bank. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Scarlet Pressley Brown, Director of External Affairs & Community Relations at Delta Air Lines and Vice President of the Delta Air Lines Foundation, is chairman of the 2012 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 Education and Community Engagement programs of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. For more information about purchasing host tickets or supporting “A King Celebration,” please contact (404) 733-5069.

Single tickets for these performances are $55 to $125. All single tickets for the 2011–2012 season are on sale now, and available online at atlantasymphony.org, or by calling (404) 733-5000. Tickets may also be purchased at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office, located in the Woodruff Arts Center at 15th and Peachtree Streets. Box office hours are Monday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

About the Artists

  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano is recognized internationally as one of the most imaginative conductors of his generation.
  • The many-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal.
  • The Morehouse College Glee Club is the official singing organization of Morehouse College, on call to serve the college’s president throughout the year.
  • The Spelman College Glee Club has maintained a reputation of choral excellence for over fifty years.

About the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, currently in its 67th season, consistently affirms its position as one of America’s leading Orchestras by performing great music, presenting great artists, educating, and engaging.

About 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., leader of America’s greatest nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace.

About Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 348 destinations in 64 countries on six continents.

About SunTrust Bank
SunTrust Banks, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the nation’s largest banking organizations, serving a broad range of consumer, commercial, corporate and institutional clients. As of September 30, 2011, SunTrust had total assets of $172.6 billion and total deposits of $126.3 billion. The Company operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states and a full array of technology-based, 24-hour delivery channels. The Company also serves clients in selected markets nationally. Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services. Through various subsidiaries the Company provides mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage, investment management, equipment leasing and investment banking services. SunTrust’s Internet address is suntrust.com.


About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, Ga., the college’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer; JPMorgan Chase Foundation President Kimberly Davis; former acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley; Harvard College Dean Evelyn Hammonds; author Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu.

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