Due to a lack of funding, the Baltimore Symphony is not presenting its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial concert in conjunction with the State of Maryland, a considerable loss to the community. If all goes well, the event will return next year. Meanwhile, here are a couple of MLK-related performances around the area worth catching.
On Monday at Baltimore's An die Musik, Opus Nine, the imaginative young chamber ensemble that features several Peabody Conservatory alumni, will give matinee and evening performances of an appealing program that aims "to celebrate the vitality of [Dr. King's] dream." The lineup includes John Williams' "Air and Simple Gifts" (composed for the Obama inauguration) and Gershwin's "Lullaby" for string quartet, as well as works by Duke Ellington, Darius Milhaud and Ricky Ian Gordon.
On Tuesday at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, the
Washington Symphonic Brass will perform Joseph Schwantner's "New Morning for the World," an affecting work that incorporates selections from King's writings (Bill Ray will be the narrator). Music by Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington and Wynton Marsalis will also be played.
Here's my own humble contribution to the MLK holiday -- a live performance by legendary contralto Marian Anderson from 1939 (the same year of her triumphant concert at the Lincoln Memorial after being barred from Constitution Hall). Something about the spiritual "Deep River" seems particularly appropriate on this occasion, especially the line "That promised land where all is peace," and it would be impossible to surpass the eloquence Miss Anderson achieves here: