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For immediate release
January 5, 2001
Tracey Terry, NPR
Natasha Daniels, Spelman
Laura Livingston, ASO
Robert Vickers, King Center
Thonnia Lee, Morehouse

A King Celebration 2001: A Classical Music Tribute to Dr. King Featuring Mezzo-Soprano Carmella Jones and Clarinetist Don Byron

Concert to Broadcast Nationally on Performance Today from NPR on Monday, January 15, 2001

WASHINGTON-On Monday, Jan. 15, 2001, the 15th anniversary of the national King Holiday, National Public Radio® (NPR®) will nationally broadcast A King Celebration 2001, a tribute to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year's program will showcase the talents of critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano Carmella Jones, jazz clarinetist Don Byron, the ASO led by the resident conductor of the Chicago Symphony, William Eddins, the Spelman College Glee Club directed by Dr. Kevin Johnson and the Morehouse College Glee Club directed by Dr. David Morrow. Since 1992, this annual event has become one of the most celebrated national tributes to Dr. King, heralding his message of harmony through classical music.

A King Celebration 2001 will be recorded live in Atlanta on Jan. 11 and 12, 2001 and broadcast on more that 250 public radio stations nationally on NPR's daily classical music program, Performance Today®. NPR's Fred Child will host the broadcast. For nationwide station information and broadcast times, please visit NPR's Web site at

"As one of the highlights of the Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday observance, this classical music tribute to my husband provides invaluable nation-wide exposure for African American composers, conductors, vocal and instrumental performers," said King Center Founder, Coretta Scott King. "It also adds to the symphony's repertoire and enhances the community's cultural education and appreciation of classically-trained African American artists."

"I take great pride in NPR's involvement in the annual tribute concert to Dr. King," said Kevin Klose, President and CEO of NPR. "His message of unity and cooperation is reflected in this collaborative endeavor. We at NPR consider it a privilege to share such a moving and inspiring program with a national audience."


The program will begin with two works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: the Ballade in A Minor, Op. 33, performed by the ASO under the direction of Eddins, and Lift Up Your Heads, featuring the Glee Clubs from Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was a biracial English composer, conductor and educator whose compositions were frequently performed on both sides of the Atlantic. Widely popular a century ago, his music has been a special inspiration to black Americans.

Brahms' Ave Maria [Hail Mary], Op. 12 will be performed by the Spelman College Glee Club and the ASO. Carmella Jones and the Morehouse College Glee Club will be featured in a performance of Brahms' Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53.

In the second part of the program, Jones, local Atlanta soprano and Spelman faculty member Laura English Robinson, the ASO and both Glee Clubs will perform Joplin's Real Slow Drag from Treemonisha. This piece is the finale to the only surviving opera by Joplin, who was known as the "King of Ragtime Writers." The ASO and its former music director Robert Shaw gave the world premiere of the work in 1972, with Robinson as a featured soloist.

The ASO will also present Duke Ellington's Harlem, followed by an appearance with Don Byron in Ellington's Come Sunday. Byron is one of the world's premier clarinetists, and one of the most versatile musicians in jazz-with a career ranging from klezmer to Latin jazz.

For the final piece in the program, Carmella Jones will return to sing the title song from Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars, a musical depicting life under apartheid in South Africa. The piece is based on the novel "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton.

Tickets for A King Celebration 2001 concert are $20 for general admission and $5 for seniors and students. To purchase tickets, call the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404.733.5000 or visit The concert begins at 8 p.m.

A King Celebration 2001 is made possible though a collaboration of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, National Public Radio, Spelman College, Morehouse College and The King Center for Non Violent Social Change. A King Celebration 2001 concert is supported by grants from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, WorldSpan, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs.

For details about other King Week events being held in Atlanta from January 11th to 15th please visit The King Center Web site at