Darin Atwater conducts an evening of the Best of Soulful Symphony, Classical, Jazz, Gospel, Motown and excerpts of Paint Factory, Song in a Strange Land and other audience favorites
Soulful Symphony celebrates its 10th anniversary with a concert at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. Founded and conducted by Darin Atwater, this 75-member orchestra is comprised primarily by African American and Latino musicians. Mr. Atwater served as Composer-in-Residence with the Baltimore Symphony from 2004-2007, a collaboration that produced many evening length works such as Song in a Strange Land and Paint Factory. Excerpts from these works and more will be reprised for Soulful fans at the anniversary celebration.
Song in a Strange Land is an exploration of the diverse musical traditions of American music—blues, jazz, gospel, African clave, reggae and bluegrass. Composed for a large ensemble of string orchestra, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, percussion, rhythm section, choir and soloist, Song in a Strange Land utilizes the Spiritual as a canvas for the creation of diverse compositional statements. In Mr. Atwater’s view, “no other form of music lends itself better to this endeavor, for in the Spiritual, one can experience the full spectrum of human emotions – joy and sorrow, hope and despair, suffering and jubilation. The Spiritual represents a people possessing optimism in the face of adversity.”
In composing the original music and lyrics for Paint Factory, Mr. Atwater endeavored to explore hip hop’s positive potential and redeeming value, while separating it from “gangsta” rap and other subgenres which have at times cast dark shadows across the entire form. “Hip hop has grown into a global phenomenon, present on all continents and performed by all races—it’s a uniting force. But over the years, hip hop has been corrupted by commercialism, and infected with racist, sexist and homophobic messages,” commented Mr. Atwater. “Paint Factory goes back to hip hop’s lyrical and musical roots to spread positive messages. I wanted to re-contextualize hip hop and demonstrate a whole new way of looking at the art form.”