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The Philadelphia Orchestra Presents Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Tribute Concert at Girard College January 21, 2019

January 9, 2019

Concert concludes Global Citizen’s Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service,

 the largest King Day event in the country

Philadelphia Orchestra broadcast partner WRTI 90.1 FM will air the concert live

Free tickets available beginning January 9 at philorch.org

(Philadelphia, January 9, 2019)––The Philadelphia Orchestra, in partnership with Girard College and Global Citizen’s Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, is proud to present its 29th annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Tribute Concert held at the Girard College Chapel on Monday, January 21, at 1:30 PM. Led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the concert concludes the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, the largest King Day of Service event in the country. Tickets to the concert are free and available starting today on www.philorch.org. The concert is generously presented by PECO and will be broadcast live on WRTI 90.1 FM.

The 90-minute program shines a light on inclusivity, showcasing works by African American composers like Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise”; spirituals such as “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” performed by the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts choir; The Saqqara Bird by Melody Eötvös, a work selected from the Orchestra’s showcase for works by women composers earlier this season; plus the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto featuring Rubén Rengel, winner of the 2018 Sphinx Competition, which recognizes and develops classical music talent in the Black and Latinx communities. The Orchestra will also perform Barber’s Adagio for Strings with a recitation of excerpts from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by speaker Charlotte Blake Alston––a stirring arrangement that has become an event staple for the past 14 years.

“It is always a distinct privilege to lead this profound performance, and to be among the diverse community members of Philadelphia who have come together to make Dr. King’s vision of a better world a reality,” said Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “This concert is a fitting tribute to Dr. King, and a reminder of all that he did for our country, and of what he said about music––how it has the ability to bring out the best in people and unite us all. As the capstone event of a day of selfless volunteerism, we hope everyone will enjoy our musical act of service.” 

“Global Citizen is excited to partner for the 5th consecutive year with the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra for the finale of the 24th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service at Girard College,” said Todd Bernstein, President of Global Citizen and Founder and Director of the King Day of Service. “This extraordinary annual concert celebrating Dr. King’s legacy is made even more special by the rich diversity of the audience, who come from all backgrounds and ages.” 

The Philadelphia Orchestra is proud to collaborate with PECO on this event. PECO has proudly supported the Orchestra’s programs and events for nearly 20 years. This year’s concert sponsorship expands PECO’s support of the Orchestra’s innovative programming and the many Martin Luther King Day of Service activities throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. 


The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Tribute Concert, first presented in 1991, reflects the beliefs and convictions of the famed civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and combines the traditions of African-American culture and Western classical music. The concert pays tribute to Dr. King’s vision of a society free of prejudice and racial divisions, and his belief in the power of music to effect change. For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, visit philorch.org.

Girard College is a college preparatory boarding school for students in grades 1 through 12 from families with limited financial resources, each headed by a single parent or guardian. Endowed by the will of Stephen Girard in 1831, Girard College has educated generations of students since it opened in Northeast Philadelphia in 1848. In keeping with its founder’s commitment to life-changing opportunities, all students are awarded full scholarships to attend Girard College. Visit girardcollege.edu for more information.

PECO, founded in 1881, is Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PECO delivers energy to more than 1.6 million electric customers and more than 516,000 natural gas customers in southeastern, Pennsylvania. The company’s 2,500 employees are dedicated to the safe and reliable delivery of electricity and natural gas as well as enhanced energy management conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. PECO was named 2017 Best Mid-size Employer in Philadelphia by Forbes Magazine. The company also has an estimated annual economic impact of $4.3 billion in Pennsylvania, supporting more than 8,700 local jobs and producing $732 million in labor income. PECO is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's only Fortune 100 utility and leading competitive energy provider. For more information visit PECO.com, and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.


Martin Luther King, Jr., Tribute Concert
January 21 at 1:30 PM—Monday afternoon—Girard College Chapel

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor
Rubén Rengel Violin

Charlotte Blake Alston Speaker
Choir of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts

B. Lauren Thomas Director

Price                                                    Fourth movement from Symphony No. 1—First Philadelphia

                                                            Orchestra Performance

Eötvös                                                  The Saqqara BirdFirst Philadelphia Orchestra Public Performance

Mendelssohn                                        First movement from Violin Concerto

Barber                                                  Adagio for Strings  

Brahms                                                Academic Festival Overture    

Brahms                                                “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen,” from A German Requiem   

Dandridge                                             “I Know I’ve Been Changed”

Smallwood                                            “Total Praise”     

Johnson                                               “Lift Every Voice and Sing”     

The concert is free, but tickets are required and available starting today at philorch.org. Seating will be general admission and is first-come, first-served. Tickets do not guarantee entry and there is a limit of four per household. Doors will open at 1:00 PM.

The concert will be broadcast live on WRTI 90.1 FM and streamed on the WRTI Classical Stream online at www.wrti.org or through the WRTI app. Host Gregg Whiteside will provide commentary on site throughout the broadcast.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Tribute Concert is presented by PECO. 


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