The Georgia Symphony Orchestra issued the following press release about their upcoming performance of “Liminal: an Atlanta Concerto” by Atlanta cellist-songwriter Okorie “OkCello” Johnson and Georgia Symphony Orchestra (GSO) Music Director and Conductor Timothy Verville:
(Marietta, Ga. January 10, 2023) Atlanta cellist-songwriter Okorie “OkCello” Johnson and Georgia Symphony Orchestra (GSO) Music Director and Conductor Timothy Verville will present the world premiere of a new work for cello and orchestra on February 25th, 2023. The piece, titled “Liminal: an Atlanta Concerto” was co-written by Johnson and Verville and will be first performed at the Georgia Symphony Orchestra’s “You Shall Hear…” performances celebrating the works of black composers.
“The improbability of my having a career as a looping, improvising, composing, storytelling Black cellist who doesn’t play canonical classical music is high in most other places on the planet,” says Johnson. “But here in Atlanta and the surrounding areas, not only is this possible, but a collaboration of this individuality and type is possible and now probable.”
“I’m excited to shake up the classical repertoire a bit by putting this creative and engaging music in front of audiences in a new way,” says Verville. “I’m absolutely looking forward to making and sharing this great music with the musicians of the GSO along with OkCello onstage.”
The music offers a unique perspective on Johnson’s creative life here in Atlanta, and his exploration of what contemporary African Diasporic stories and song forms sound like through an orchestra. This three-movement composition is comprised of music originally written by Johnson for solo looping cello which has been adapted for solo cello and orchestra. Two of the utilized pieces within the work are the results of previous commissions from Atlanta Organizations: the National Black Arts Festival and Freedom Park Conservancy.
You can hear these pieces on February 25th at 8 p.m. and February 26th at 3 p.m. at the Marietta Performing Arts Center.
About the Georgia Symphony Orchestra:
Founded in 1951 in the music room of Arthur F. Moor’s home in Marietta, the Georgia Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 72nd season of steady growth, enriching the metro Atlanta community with accessible, critically acclaimed performances and providing educational experiences that instill a lifelong appreciation for the arts. Led by visionary music director and conductor Timothy Verville, the GSO offers imaginative programming that includes internationally recognized guest artists and collaborative performances.
Bringing stellar orchestral, jazz and choral music to diverse audiences, the organization is comprised of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, GSO Jazz!, the GSO Chorus, and the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestras.