CLEVELANDThe Cleveland Orchestra’s 39th annual free concert in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. takes place at Severance Hall on Sunday, January 20, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. conducted by Assistant Conductor Vinay Parameswaran. The concert is free; however, tickets are required. Information on how to request tickets via the lottery drawing system is included below. This concert is sponsored by KeyBank and supported by a grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.

The Cleveland Orchestra and the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus | Photo by Roger Mastroianni

The January 20 concert program features classical selections by Beethoven, Copland, Sibelius, and from William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony, as well as traditional hymns and spirituals such as “We Shall Overcome,” “There’s a Man Goin’ Round,” and “Hold On.” The Cleveland Orchestra is joined for this performance by:

  • Guest soloist, Ohio-born operatic tenor Lawrence Brownlee, named 2017 “Male Singer of the Year” by both the International Opera Awards and Bachtrack.
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus — an all-Cleveland community volunteer chorus — directed by William Henry Caldwell.

Biographical materials and photos of The Cleveland Orchestra and guest artists are available upon request.

Dr. King visited Cleveland many times from 1956 to 1968, giving notable speeches at Glenville High School and local historic churches, mobilizing voter registration efforts, and leading marches for civil rights. Video and audio recordings of Dr. King’s visits to Cleveland — as well as first-hand stories from those who were present — will be incorporated into the concert on a big screen above the Orchestra in a multi-media presentation produced by ideastream.


Free Ticket Lottery System

The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert is free to the community; however, tickets are required. Due to the high demand for tickets — and to provide fair and equitable access to all interested in attending — free tickets will be distributed via a lottery drawing system, which may be entered by filling out a lottery form at, sending a postcard or letter to the Severance Hall Ticket Office, or by calling the Ticket Office. Lottery entries will be accepted beginning December 12, 2018 at 10:00AM, and all entries must be received by January 3, 2019 at 5:00PM. Winners will be chosen at random on January 4, 2019, and will be mailed tickets on that date. One entry per household is permitted, with a limit of four tickets per entry. Phone entries can be made by calling the Severance Hall Ticket Office at 216-231-1111 during regular business hours (Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. & Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.). For mail entries, please send name, address, email address, phone number, and the number of tickets requested (up to four) to:

2019 MLK Ticket Lottery/Cleveland Orchestra Ticket Office
11001 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106


ideastream Radio Broadcast

The longstanding relationship between The Cleveland Orchestra and ideastream continues, with ideastream providing production support for the video and audio recordings included as part of this concert. Audio of the January 20 concert will be broadcast live by ideastream on the radio on 90.3 WCPN and WCLV 104.9, and on


16th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. 2019 Community Service Awards

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2019 Community Service Awards will be presented as part of the January 20 concert. Jeffery Weaver, Chair of The Cleveland Orchestra Community Engagement Committee, will announce the awards, which are presented by The Cleveland Orchestra and the City of Cleveland to individuals who make a positive impact on Cleveland in the spirit of the teachings and example of Dr. King.


Instrument Donation Drive

Beginning with the January 20 concert — in collaboration with Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Arts Cleveland, and a growing list of other music and arts organizations — The Cleveland Orchestra will begin collecting clean and gently-used instruments (strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion) in good, playable condition. The goal of the drive is to put instruments in the hands of kids in schools and recreation centers throughout Cleveland, giving kids the proven benefits music-making provides. Additional information and FAQs about the drive will be available on January 11 at


Free Community Open House at Severance Hall January 21

A free Community Open House takes place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 21, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Severance Hall. Performances and family activities will be held throughout the day. Performances by the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Mound School Strings (through a program of The Cleveland Orchestra’s education and community programs), The Dance Centre, and the American Spirituals Collegiate Voice Competition winner will take place in the Concert Hall. Family activities include the “I Have a Dream” Wall, Martin Luther King Jr. Day activity sheets, a book display by Cuyahoga County Public Library in Smith Lobby, and Terry Macklin Inc.– DJ and Line Dancing in the Bogomolny-Kozerefski Grand Foyer. For additional information on the groups performing and activities of the open house, please see the Calendar Listing section below or visit

Parking Information

Parking in the Case Western Reserve University Campus Center Garage (Lot 29, adjacent to Severance Hall) for the January 20 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert will be available for free, on a first-come, first-served basis. The parking rate for the Community Open House on January 21 will be $7 per vehicle. For more information about parking, please visit




Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert

Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Severance Hall


The Cleveland Orchestra

Vinay Parameswaran, conductor

Lawrence Brownlee, tenor

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus

William Henry Caldwell, director

BEETHOVEN  Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus

STILL  Movement No. 4 from Symphony No. 1 (“Afro-American”)

TRADITIONAL/arr. DETT  I’ll Never Turn Back

COPLAND  Fanfare for the Common Man
TRADITIONAL/arr. FLOYD  We Shall Overcome
ROSSINI  Cujus Animam from Stabat Mater
TRADITIONAL/arr. FLOYD  There’s a Man Goin’ Round
SIBELIUS  Finlandia

JOHNSON/arr. SMITH  Lift Every Voice and Sing


Live radio broadcast by ideastream on 90.3 WCPN and WCLV 104.9 and online at

Sponsored by KeyBank and supported by a grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation




Monday, January 21, 2019, from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Severance Hall


12:30 p.m.        Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus

1:15 p.m.          American Spirituals Collegiate Voice Competition winner in recital

2:00 p.m.          El Sistema@Rainey instrumentalists

2:45 p.m.          Mound School Strings

3:15 p.m.          The Dance Centre

4:00 p.m.          Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra


All performances take place in the Concert Hall.


Terry Macklin Inc. – DJ and Line Dancing – takes place in the Bogomolny-Kozerefski Grand Foyer between performances.


Ongoing family-friendly activities include the “I Have a Dream” Wall, Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activity Sheets, and Cuyahoga County Public Library Book Display in the Smith Lobby.


Sponsored by KeyBank and supported by a grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.

Tess Abney is a freelance writer who was born and raised in the Quad Cities. She spends most of her time attempting to successfully raise three boys. In her free time, writing is her passion. Whether it is sharing local events and businesses with readers or sharing her thoughts on life, she finds comfort in the way words can bring people together.