New England Conservatory presents “Embracing Coretta,” a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Coretta Scott King’s graduation from NEC

New England Conservatory will pay tribute to alumna Coretta Scott King on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of her graduation from the Conservatory with a special concert, “Embracing Coretta,” on Monday, October 30th at 7:30pm in Jordan Hall. Supported by NEC’s Office of Cultural Equity and Belonging and Embrace Boston, the evening will feature a rich diversity of art songs and spiritual arrangements.

Coretta Scott King

“Embracing Coretta” will include the world premiere of “Dear Coretta,” a song by J. Jakari Rush based on a love letter Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote to Coretta in 1952 and a piece by Cuban composer Amadeo Roldan, which Coretta sang on NEC’s Jordan Hall stage 70 years ago. The commemorative concert centers Black artists by featuring composers and poets, including singers Sarah Joyce Cooper, Neil Nelson, Melissa Joseph, and Daon Drisdom. The concert is a sabbatical project by NEC faculty member and pianist, Timothy Steele, who will also perform on this concert.

Coretta Scott King was an accomplished singer who studied at New England Conservatory from 1951-1954, during which time she met and married Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Embracing Coretta” will tell her life story through a series of narrations, art songs, and spirituals, which will highlight the ways in which she supported the Civil Rights Movement through her singing—as an activist, and as a wife and mother. 

Prior to the concert, at 6:00pm there will be a 20-minute guided tour of significant locations near NEC where Dr. King and Coretta met and lived, concluding at the display of the bust of Coretta Scott King in NEC’s Blumenthal Family Library.

Admission is free; tickets are required and can be reserved by visiting the event page.

NEC’s Black Student Union has hosted the Coretta Scott King Tribute Concert for six years; the 2024 date is set for Monday, February 26. Ticket information will be made available in the coming months.