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Joe Giblin / Associated Press

As Atlanta transitions from big summer concerts to fall festivals, contributor Mara Davis joins host emeritus Steve Goss for a look at some of the acts and artists performing in town, including some hometown heroes partying on Ponce and a trio of very different Nordic acts.

Alexandra Gardner /

Christopher Theofanidis is no stranger to Atlanta's classical music scene.

In April, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performed the world premiere of his ambitious composition, “Creation/Creator.”

Last month, a recording of that performance was released on the ASO’s label.

Earlier this week, Theofanidis joined The Westminster Schools Orchestra for a concert at the private school in Buckhead.

Young Country Crooner Breaks Down Stereotypes

Oct 7, 2015
Jack Dempsey / AP Photo

Country music artist Mickey Guyton is one of the few African-American women writing and singing in the male-dominated genre.

The Texas-born Guyton topped the charts this year with her hit single “Better Than You Left Me.” The popular song landed her on tour with country superstar Brad Paisley and on her way to super stardom herself.

Guyton said during an interview on “Closer Look” that she was first inspired to sing country music when she saw a young LeAnn Rimes singing the national anthem at a Texas ball game.

Ludacris performs as part of Final Four Big Dance Concerts at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Atlanta.
Robb D. Cohen/RobbsPhotos/Invision / Associated Press

In September 2015, WABE sent our reporters out to find out one thing: "What defines Atlanta, exactly? Do we have a unique identity?" You can read the rest of the stories here. 

Atlanta has been central to hip-hop for years. WABE asked Atlanta’s DJ Drama, Kawan Prather, Bear Sills and DJ Cowboy when they knew Atlanta had made it in the previously New York- and Los Angeles-dominated world of hip-hop.

Ainsley Joseph


Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers has just released her latest recording, a collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra called "Serenade: The Love Album."

"Serenade: The Love Album” celebrates the 50th wedding anniversary of Meyers’ parents. Her father grew up playing jazz clubs in Chicago, so she commissioned arrangements of some of his old repertoire, along with tracks from classic movies.

“City Lights” producer Erin Wright spoke with Meyers about the new release, which includes works from Leonard Bernstein’s “Serenade.”

Richard Crean


Over the next week, there's a great story unfolding at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.


He's a writer who has to burn his own books for heat. She's delicate, like a flower, sensitive and beautiful. Their friends are a laugh a minute, other than the not-so-infrequent lovers' quarrel.


They’re the lead characters in Puccini's “La Bohème," regarded as one of the most romantic works ever put to stage.


Members of Atlanta contemporary ensemble Chamber Cartel rehearsing for their performance of Xenakis' "Pleiades" at the Goat Farm Arts Center.
Myke Johns / WABE

If you’re a fan of percussion, this story is for you.

The Atlanta-based contemporary chamber ensemble Chamber Cartel is performing a piece for six percussionists. And they’re using an instrument that the musicians had to build themselves. Reporter Myke Johns joined the ensemble as they rehearsed at the Goat Farm Arts Center to perform "Pleiades" by modern composer Iannis Xenakis. 

Jennifer Higdon
Candace DiCarlo

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon met Atlanta Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Spano around 30 years ago, when they were both in college.

The two became fast friends, but they didn't work professionally together until both were well into their separate careers. Then Spano conducted Higdon's “Concerto for Orchestra,” and asked her if he could make the world premiere recording with the ASO.

Marty Sohl / Metropolitan Opera via AP


When Peter Gelb took over New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2006, winds of change were in the air. Old productions were retired; new directors were hired, and operas started streaming live on movie screens around the world.

The Met Live in HD series opens its 10th anniversary season Saturday with Giuseppe Verdi's "Il Trovatore."

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs at Citi Field on Thursday, July 16, 2015, in New York.
Greg Allen / Invision/AP

Though this weekend's Afropunk Fest may have been canceled, there are still plenty of concerts going on in town. WABE contributor Mara Davis sits down with host emeritus Steve Goss to look at some of the indie legends and arena rockers coming to town this weekend.

Nick Johns playing a Steinway Concert Grand once played by Emanuel Ax, Diana Krall, Lang Lang, McCoy Tyner, and many others at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Alpharetta.
Myke Johns / WABE

The piano manufacturer Steinway is offering the chance to meet some living legends … or at least play their pianos.

Three pianos on display at Steinway Piano Galleries have been played by the likes of Lang Lang, Emanuel Ax, Billy Joel and more. WABE producer Myke Johns paid a visit to check them out along with his brother, a classically trained pianist.

AfroPunk sign on Edgewood
Alison Guillory / WABE

Afropunk has canceled its first foray into Atlanta, citing the city's recent stint of bad weather as the reason.

The festival, which was originally going to take place Oct. 3 and 4, said on their Facebook page that "site operations and build [had] been greatly impeded due to heavy rains throughout the week, with more inclement weather in the forecast for the next several days."

Ticket holders will be automatically refunded at point of purchase.

You can read a statement from Afropunk's founder, Matthew Morgan, below:



TomorrowWorld organizers said in a statement that they understand festivalgoers' frustrations and disappointments following a weekend that many attendees called "chaotic."  

Atlanta-area composer and singer Elise Witt
Irene Young

"We're All Born Singing:" that's the name of a new CD and book from Atlanta-area composer and singer Elise Witt. It's also her paradigm as a music educator. 

Witt will officially launch her album with a concert at Decatur's Oakhurst Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Thursday, but she gave Amy Kiley a preview. Witt began by explaining how she herself was born singing.

Alberto Cabello /

  Gregg Allman, Sam Moore and the late Philip Walden Jr. have been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Moore and Mac Powell of Christian rock band Third Day opened the telecast of the 37th annual show with a rendition of "Georgia on my Mind" at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. 

Others inductees included John Huie, the band Drivin' N' Cryin', John and Jane Barber and Monica Pearson. Posthumous inductees included Tim Wilson, Walden and Sonny Limbaugh.

Stephanie M. Lennox / WABE

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra season has started. But, before music director Robert Spano ever took the stage opening night, another conductor stepped to the podium to prepare the ASO singers for that concert.

Norman Mackenzie is the ASO director of choruses. Symphony-goers might not always see him on stage, but they hear his work whenever the ASO Chorus sings.

Mackenzie's role as the conductor behind the conductor is explored in this interview that walks through time and space.

Israeli classical composer Avner Dorman working with percussionists Galen Lemmon and Steve Hearn on his show, "Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!" at the Cabrillo festival.


There are a limited number of ways you can play the violin. You can pluck the strings. You can bow the strings, maybe even get a little rhythmic on the wood – if you've got an instrument that can take it.

But those limitations can't stop Thomas Sherwood and Charles Settle, percussionists with the Atlanta Sympony Orchestra. For them, anything and everything is an instrument.

Sherwood and Settle will be the featured musicians Saturday as the ASO performs Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s percussion concerto “Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!.”

In this Sunday, March 8, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis recites the Angelus noon prayer from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
Riccardo De Luca / Associated Press

Pope Francis is becoming Pop Star Francis: The religious leader is set to release a pop-rock album.

Believe Digital, the label releasing the album, announced Friday that "Wake Up!" will be available on Nov. 27. The album will feature extracts from Pope Francis' speeches in various languages, including English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

Pope Francis premiered the first single called "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!" on Rolling Stone's website on Friday. The album is available for pre-order on iTunes.

Willie Nelson will appear on the Tabernacle stage with his trusty guitar, Trigger, on February 27.
John P. /

This weekend, the metro area plays host to an electronic dance music festival, a teen idol, a country legend and much more. WABE contributor Mara Davis sat down with host emeritus Steve Goss for this week's Music Mix.

Matthew Kaminski, the Atlanta Braves organist, during a game against the Washington Nationals.
Pouya Dianat / Atlanta Braves/Getty Images


During the summers, Matthew Kaminski plays the organ at Atlanta Braves home games.

He’s become well known around the country for his clever, handpicked riffs off popular tunes to greet players coming to bat -- “Camptown Races” for the New York Mets’ Lucas Duda, to name one example.

Kaminski also has long been established in the Atlanta jazz scene. On Friday and Saturday, he and his quartet will record live shows at Churchill Grounds.

Courtesy of TomorrowWorld


One of the largest music festivals in Europe has made a splash since crossing over into the United States a couple years ago.

TomorrowWorld returns Friday with 300 internationally renowned electronic dance music DJs from David Guetta to Afrojack along with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal during the three-day festival in suburban Atlanta. The festival has made a big financial impact since its 2013 debut and is estimated to generate millions of dollars in revenue for Georgia.

Organizers hope their third festival can be more impactful.

A photograph of composer Richard Wagner, Paris, 1861; this was taken when Wagner was in France for the premiere of Tannhauser.
Pierre Petit / Wikimedia Commons

The leitmotif is a theme or other coherent musical idea that represents a character, place, object, idea or other supernatural force.

These can be found in operas, musicals, movies, television shows, video games and even symphonic classical music.

This technique has its origins in German Romantic Opera, specifically with the music of composer Richard Wagner.

j-No /

'Tis the season for music festivals in the metro-Atlanta area, and there is a new festival in town called Afropunk.

The festival’s roots are in New York, where it has held a festival for 10 years. This is the first year it has traveled to other cities in addition to its usual Brooklyn location. It was in Paris in May, and now it will be in Atlanta on Oct. 3 and 4 at Central Park.  

Afropunk co-founded Matthew Morgan spoke with City Lights's Gabbie Watts about how the festival transformed from 20 kids in a room to one of the most multicultural festivals in the country. 

Stephen Layton publicity photo
Keith Saunders / Courtesy of


The Choir of Trinity College at Cambridge University in England dates back to the 14th century, and it sings chiefly from the classical liturgical works of the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.

The choir is currently on an American tour and will be performing Friday at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta.

Sir Elton John and his band, during his performance at Royal Theatre in Madrid, Spain. Monday, July 20, 2015.
Abraham Caro Marin / AP Photo

Music Midtown is back this weekend.

Part-time Atlanta resident Sir Elton John is headlining the two-day festival.

More than 150,000 people attended last year's Music Midtown. This year's event will feature four stages.

Among the other performers taking part: Van Halen, Lenny Kravitz and Billy Idol.


In this 1970 file photo, Jimi Hendrix performs on the Isle of Wight in England.
File / Associated Press


There is a new Jimi Hendrix album available in stores now, improbable as that may seem, seeing as how this Friday marks the 45th anniversary of the guitarist’s death. Perhaps more improbable still: It was recorded in Georgia, in front of the largest American audience of his career.

Sir Elton John and his band, during his performance at Royal Theatre in Madrid, Spain. Monday, July 20, 2015.
Abraham Caro Marin / AP Photo

This weekend in Atlanta music, we've got the city's perennial summer festival, a comedian-turned-crooner, a backup singer taking center stage and much more.  Steve Goss sits down with WABE contributor Mara Davis for Mara's Music Mix.

ASO Music Director Robert Spano
Angela Morris / Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

On Thursday, Symphony Hall at the Woodruff Arts Center opens its doors for the first Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert of the 2015-16 season.

The featured work is Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, also known as the Resurrection Symphony, which bears a certain bit of irony.

Kristen Chenoweth arrives at the Kodak Theater for the 80th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, CA., on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008.
Amy Sancetta / AP Photo


Broadway, film, TV and recording star Kristin Chenoweth wrapped up a revival of the musical "On the Twentieth Century" in July.

After a few months of shows, you might think that she would want a break, maybe lie low at home for a little bit. But for Chenoweth, home is the concert stage.

She's back on the road with her "Coming Home Tour" that makes a stop on Friday at the Cobb Energy Centre.

The International Music Conference is bringing more than 50 panelists together to speak about the entertainment industry and create networking opportunities for emerging artists.

The fifth annual conference kicks off its five-day event Wednesday in Atlanta. The conference will include a series of featured performances, discussion panels, song feedback sessions, workshops and exhibits.