Soulful Symphony and Conductor Darin Atwater to Celebrate 15th Anniversary with
Two Concerts at the Meyerhoff
Program will Feature the World Premiere of “The Audacity of Hope,” a Suite by Darin Atwater
Baltimore, MD (June 15, 2015) – Artistic Director Darin Atwater and the Soulful Symphony will return to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall to celebrate their 15th Anniversary with concerts Friday, November 27 and Saturday, November 28, 2015. “From our first downbeat at the inaugural concert at the Meyerhoff in 2000, to our tenth season and now the fully orchestrated achievement of sustaining Soulful Symphony for 15 years, we have celebrated this music with landmarks and an ever-growing audience who are committed to our contributions to Baltimore and beyond,” says Darin Atwater.
Drawing upon the orchestra’s history, half of the concert will be devoted to audience favorites from previous seasons, including popular gospel pieces like “Say Amen, Somebody” and a musical tribute to Andrae Crouch, excerpts from “Song in a Strange Land” as well as other selections from their jazz, pop and soul repertoire. The centerpiece of the program will be the world premiere of four movements from a new suite by Atwater based on President Barack Obama’s political biography, The Audacity of Hope.
Composed specifically for the Soulful Symphony, the suite is for full orchestra, choir and soloists. Describing the work as a sonic narrative, Atwater states, “The Audacity of Hope is a piece that memorializes in symphonic form the imprints of African-Americans on our country as we continue the legacy of cultural achievements from the bonds of our past — up from the tragic and adverse conditions of slavery — our trials and triumphs told through our art.” The names of the movements correlate to chapters of the president’s book and act as the framework of the piece. The four movements that will be premiered as part of the anniversary celebration will be: “Our Constitution,” “Republican and Democrats,” “Race” and “The World Beyond Our Borders.”
BSO President Paul Meecham states, “I am extremely excited to welcome back Soulful Symphony to the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall during our Centennial Season. The connection we have with Darin and Soulful Symphony can only strengthen our community through the power of music and help to diversify the audiences we wish to reach.”
About Soulful Symphony
Founded by composer and artistic director Darin Atwater, Soulful Symphony is among the nation’s most prominent African-American and Latino symphony orchestras. Featuring a culturally diverse ensemble of 85 musicians and vocalists, Soulful Symphony blends rhythm and blues, jazz and gospel music all within a symphonic framework for orchestra. As a not-for-profit arts organization, Soulful Symphony is dedicated to the preservation of African-American cultural expression and to the presentation of symphonic music.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra forged a historic joint venture with Soulful Symphony from 2004-2007, partnering with the organization to bring their unique brand of music to new and diverse audiences throughout Maryland. Through that partnership, Soulful Symphony performed to sell-out houses at both the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore and the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda. After 10 seasons of sell-out performances in a joint venture with the Baltimore Symphony, Soulful Symphony entered into a historic partnership with Broadway Across America.
Darin Atwater, conductor
Darin Atwater’s career has encompassed the roles of composer, conductor, pianist, record producer, artist, arranger, vocalist, entrepreneur, educator and arts advocate. Mr. Atwater made his orchestral debut as both composer and pianist in May 1995 with the National Symphony Orchestra with his Piano Concerto. As a Guest Conductor, he has appeared with the Baltimore Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and the Columbus Symphony. Mr. Atwater previously served as the conductor in residence with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
In 2000, Mr. Atwater founded Soulful Symphony, an 85 member orchestra with vocals made up of mostly African American and Latino musicians. Mr. Atwater records exclusively with Mack Avenue Records and is currently recording Stone Tablets, a work involving chamber ensemble and choir. It is expected to release in the first quarter of 2016.
Tickets start at $25 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is funded by operating grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, the Baltimore County Commission on the Arts and Sciences, the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and the Maryland State Department of Education