MARTIN LUTHER KING CELEBRATIONS: Cleveland Orchestra Holding Virtual MLK Concert Celebration!


The Cleveland Orchestra Franz Welser-Möst, conductor James Pickens Jr., narrator Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus William Henry Caldwell, director Photo by Roger Mastroianni, By Chris Mosby, January 13th 2021

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert Celebration will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cleveland Orchestra’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration will take place virtually here in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While it is sadly not possible for all of us to gather at Severance Hall for this year’s concert, The Cleveland Orchestra is committed to continuing the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration into its 41st year,” said André Gremillet, President & CEO of the orchestra.

Gremillet said the orchestra will offer free video performances through the Adella streaming service and on social media networks, in addition to concerts aired on TV and radio via a partnership with ideastream.

“This year’s celebration highlights the work of Black composers George Walker, Florence Price, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, and Cleveland native Leslie Adams in new and recent video recordings performed by members of The Cleveland Orchestra” said Mark Williams, chief artistic officer.

Members of the Cleveland Orchestra will share performances of Walker’s, Price’s, Perkinson’s and Adams’ pieces on social media. Those performances will begin being posted on social media starting Jan. 18.

On Adella, the orchestra will stream its 2018 MLK Celebration concert. The concert will be available, for free, from Jan. 14 to to April 14. That concert featured classical selections by Beethoven, Respighi, and George Walker, as well as traditional hymns and spirituals such as “Down by the Riverside,” “Precious Lord,” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

The 2018 MLK Celebration Concert will also air on WVIZ/PBS on Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. and Jan. 18 at 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. The 2019 concert will air on 90.3 WCPN and on Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. The 2020 concert will air on WCLV on 104.9 and ideastream on Jan. 18 at 8 p.m.

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