Newsday: The McGill/McHale Trio -- brothers Demarre, left, and Anthony McGill, center, and Michael McHale -- will play at Tilles Center's Hillwood Recital Hall. Photo Credit: Matthew Septimus
November 30, 2016
WHAT The McGill/McHale Trio
You’re in for an “extraordinarily rare” experience at Sunday’s Music at Hillwood matinee recital.
The McGill/McHale Trio performs a program including works by Dvorak and Saint-Saens and two pieces arranged by pianist Michael McHale. While the performance may be extraordinary, it is the players — specifically two of them — that make the occasion so rare.
In 2014, clarinetist Anthony McGill became the first African-American named principal player of any instrument in the New York Philharmonic since its 1843 founding. His brother, Demarre, was the first African-American principal player for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, now acting principal flutist for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. “We’re neighbors now,” says Demarre, who works at the Met Opera House while his kid brother by four years plays at Geffen Hall across Lincoln Center Plaza. “The trio,” he says, “is the first time we’ve worked regularly together professionally.”
NOT SO DIVERSE
While black musicians are vastly underrepresented in symphony orchestras, they’re even rarer in chamber ensembles, says Caroline Stoessinger, host and artistic director of Music at Hillwood. Even the Harlem String Quartet now has only one African-American player, violinist Melissa White. In September, an African-American, cellist Astrid Schween, joined the Juilliard String Quartet.
“If you can’t think of an African-American concert pianist besides Andre Watts,” says Stoessinger, “it’s because they don’t exist.
“Prejudice still exists on some level,” she says. “