About Soulful Symphony
Founded in 2000 by composer and artistic director Darin Atwater, Soulful
Symphony is dedicated to the preservation of African-American cultural expression and to the presentation of American vernacular
music. Soulful Symphony is a repository for the exploration of diverse musical expressions: classical, jazz, gospel and popular
forms capturing a universal language that gives all cultures common ground.
In 2004, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra forged an historic joint venture with Soulful Symphony, partnering with the organization
to bring their unique brand of music to new and diverse audiences throughout Maryland. Since partnering with the BSO, Soulful
Symphony has performed to sell-out houses at both the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore and the Music Center at
Strathmore in North Bethesda.
About Darin Atwater, founder and director, Soulful Symphony
As a composer, conductor and pianist
Mr. Atwater is regarded as one of the leading artists of his generation. His skills in the idioms of classical, jazz and sacred
music have earned him a distinguished international reputation.
Mr. Atwater made his orchestral debut as both composer and pianist in May 1995 with the National Symphony Orchestra. Engagements
with major orchestras, a European tour and world premieres of his numerous compositions followed. As a guest conductor he
has appeared with the Baltimore Symphony, the Dallas Symphony and the Columbus Symphony. Mr. Atwater appears regularly with
the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis as both guest conductor and composer. Most recently he conducted
the premiere of Mr. Marsalis' Mass, for the 200th anniversary of Abyssinian Baptist Church. He will return next season
to conduct the premiere of Mr. Marsalis' Spaces for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and will also arrange for
Nursery Song Swing.
Born in Washington D.C., Mr. Atwater studied under Dr. Nathan Carter at Morgan State University. While he studied composition
briefly at the Peabody Institute, he is largely self taught in composition and his works reflect the reach of his imagination,
skill and versatility. He has been influenced by diverse musical styles and has fused and sculpted these influences into a
truly American sound.
Mr. Atwater served as Composer-in-Residence with the Baltimore Symphony from 2004-2007. This collaboration produced many
evening length works that have become staples in Soulful Symphony's repertoire. Among them are, Song in a Strange Land,
Evolution of a People, Paint Factory, Southern Folk Sketches and God's Trombones.
Mr. Atwater has a substantial presence in the recording industry. He as arranged and orchestrated for a “who's who”
in Gospel music: Donnie McClurkin, Richard Smallwood, Yolanda Adams, Karen Clark-Sheard, Shirley Caesar and Donald Lawrence.
For the 2008-2009 school year, Mr. Atwater will serve as composition mentor for Digital Harbor High School. He has also
partnered with Baltimore City Public Schools and will present his Paint Factory Lecture Series in 13 elementary schools.
Among his many honors and recognitions, Ebony magazine dubbed him one of the “30 Leaders of the Future,”
and the Baltimore Business Journal placed him on their exclusive “40 under 40” list. Mr. Atwater is trustee
for Maryland Citizens for the Arts and was recently given the 2008 Legends and Pioneers Award by The Afro American Newspapers.
Mr. Atwater serves on the music team at Celebration Church in Columbia, Md.
Soulful Symphony 2008-2009 Calendar of Events
Say Amen Somebody with Donnie McClurkin
Friday, October 24, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.— Music
Center at Strathmore
Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Darin Atwater, conductor
Donnie McClurkin, vocalist
Stellar Gospel and Grammy Award-winner Donnie McClurkin joins Soulful Symphony to perform several of his biggest hits.
The evening’s program will also feature original gospel arrangements by Darin Atwater.
Special Event/BSO Classical Concert: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 80th Birthday Celebration
January 7, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall*
Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.—Music Center
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Kweisi Mfume, narrator
In a community celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Soulful Symphony and the Baltimore
Symphony join forces under Marin Alsop. Special guest and former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume narrates Joseph Schwantner’s
stirring Morning for a New World, featuring texts from some of Dr. King’s most memorable speeches.
*The Baltimore performance is part of the State of Maryland’s 23rd Annual Tribute to Dr. King, and is co-sponsored
by the Commission on African American History and Culture.
Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.—Music Center at Strathmore
April 4, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. — Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
From opera to art songs and spirituals, Soulful Symphony and special guest soloists present the very best in vocal arts.
The Sounds of Motown
Friday, May 15, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.—Music Center at Strathmore
May 16, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Soulful Symphony brings down the house with the legendary sounds of Motown. Experience hits from greats like Stevie Wonder,
Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and The Supremes. Boasting vocal soloists, costumes and choreography, this blast-from-the-past
program is non-stop entertainment from start to finish.