On Monday, Jan. 15, 2001, the 15th anniversary of the national King Holiday, National Public Radio will air "A King Celebration 2001," a musical 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 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (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.
Performance Today Program Listing
Hour 1 -- A KING CELEBRATION 2001: On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we take you to the stage of the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College, Dr. King's alma mater. This hour features two works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: the "Ballade in A Minor, Op. 33," performed the ASO under the direction of Eddins, and "Lift Up Your Heads," featuring the Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs. Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was a biracial English composer, conductor and educator whose compositions are frequently performed on both sides of the Atlantic. Widely popular a century ago, his music has been a special inspiration to African Americans. This hour also features performances of the "Ave Maria, Op. 12," by Johannes Brahms, by the Spelman College Glee Club accompanied by the ASO, and of Brahms' beautiful "Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53," featuring mezzo-soprano Carmella Jones, the Morehouse College Glee Club, and the ASO.
Hour 2 -- In this hour, we continue our broadcast of "A King Celebration 2001" with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra honoring both Scott Joplin and its own past, with a performance of "A Real Slow Drag" from Joplin's pioneering opera Treemonisha. Joplin's opera, considered the first major effort by an African American in the genre, was premiered by the ASO under Robert Shaw in 1972. The cast included Atlanta soprano (and current Spelman faculty member) Laura English-Robinson, who joins Carmella Jones, the ASO, and both Glee Clubs to reprise her role onstage at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel. PT Host Fred Child also introduces two works by Duke Ellington this hour: the tone poem "Harlem," and "Come Sunday," featuring the acclaimed classical and jazz clarinetist Don Byron as soloist. "A King Celebration 2001" concludes with a 100th birthday tribute to composer Kurt Weill, with a performance of the title song from his last Broadway production, Lost in the Stars. Set in South Africa, the play tells the story of a black preacher and a white planter brought together by tragedy. Lost in the Stars has been called "a moving affirmation of faith in the face of overwhelming misfortune."
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, William Eddins Conductor
Morehouse College Glee Club, Dr. David Morrow, Director
Spelman College Glee Club, Dr. Kevin Johnson, Director
Carmella Jones, Mezzo-Soprano
Don Byron, Clarinet
Fred Child, Host, Performance Today
Clark Atlanta University, Park Street Church Music and Arts Complex
Don Byron, ASO Members
"Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child"
"I Was Way Down A-yonder" (from Five Negro Melodies For Piano Trio, op. 59, no. 1)
"Fantasiestuecke for string quartet, op. 5"
"Quintet for clarinet and string quartet"