Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sergio Mims: Clarinetist Anthony McGill returns to UChicago Presents in a streaming concert Friday, June 26, 7 PM CDT

Anthony McGill

Sergio A. Mims forwards this release:

UChicago Presents:

“An instrumental force in the face of darkness.” — New York Times
Chicago native Anthony McGill, hailed as one of classical music’s most recognizable and brilliantly multifaceted figures, is Principal Clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and the orchestra's first African American principal player. Distinguished both as a soloist with top orchestras and for his collaborations with such modern musical titans as Emanuel Ax, Gil Shaham, and Mitsuko Uchida, McGill is also a celebrated chamber musician whose most recent appearances on UChicago Presents' series include those with the Pacifica Quartet in 2014 and the Musicians from Marlboro in 2016.
On Friday, June 26, McGill returns to UChicago Presents in a streaming concert with pianist Anna Polonsky. In the several weeks since we first invited him to give a virtual concert on our series, McGill's artistry has taken on newly profound and urgent resonance as he has used music as a means of response to police violence and systemic injustice via a video he shared on social media of himself performing "America, the Beautiful." The video, which has received over 250,000 views, is sparking a movement as artists and citizens respond with their own video performances in solidarity using the hashtag #TakeTwoKnees.
Join clarinetist Anthony McGill for this performance, streamed from Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, New York, on Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and on The program will include works for clarinet and piano by Leonard Bernstein, Florence Price, and Carlos Guastavino. Before the performance, Thomas C. Holt, Professor of American and African American History, will moderate a pre-concert talk with McGill.

Presented in partnership with Chamber Music Society of Detroit, Chamber Music Tulsa, Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, Shriver Hall Concert Series, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, and WFMT, with additional support from Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, Chamber Music Albuquerque, National Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Anna Polonsky, Piano
Friday | June 26 | 7:00 pm CDT

6:30 pm CDT – "Doors Open"
6:35 pm CDT – Pre-concert talk with Professor Thomas C. Holt

Watch: NPR: Clarinetist Anthony McGill Kneels,
Pleads and Plays For Justice

On May 27, McGill posted a poignant solo performance of "America, the Beautiful" to Facebook. At the end of the short black-and-white video, he tucks his clarinet behind his back and sinks to his knees. In the accompanying statement, he challenges fellow musicians and Americans to shine a light on racism in their own way using the hashtag #TakeTwoKnees in protest of police violence.

Read about the creation of the post, the responses it has inspired, and why McGill believes even small gestures of protest can have a real effect in this interview with NPR's Tom Huizenga.

 Anthony and Demarre McGill at Symphony Center in Chicago in 2019.

Anthony McGill and his brother, Demarre – principal flute of the Seattle Symphony – grew up in Chatham, on Chicago's South Side, and received early training on their instruments from the Merit School of Music and performed together in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.

The McGill brothers returned to their hometown in 2012 to team up with the CYSO to record an album of works for clarinet, flute, and orchestra entitled Winged Creatures. The album features works by Saint-Saëns, Danzi, and two concertos written for the brothers by Joel Puckett and Michael Abel.

Since taking up his post at the New York Philharmonic in 2014, Anthony McGill has hardly been a stranger to his native Chicago, often returning to the city of his roots to perform at the Ravinia Festival, Symphony Center, and UChicago Presents, among others. In this piece from the Backstage Blog of the Ravinia Festival, McGill relates the breadth of the musical community that helped him find his voice as a young musician, and traces his musical journey from Chicago to New York, with stops along the way including the White House, where he performed at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration.

Read the full story below, then join us for McGill's streaming concert with Anna Polonsky from the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, New York, on June 26 at 7:00 pm CDT.

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