The Gateways Music Festival Orchestra makes its Carnegie debut: NewsCenter



April 25, 2022


The Gateways Music Festival Orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut on Sunday afternoon, April 24, with conductor Anthony Parnther (far right) and Grammy Award-winning pianist Jon Batiste (in gold) . The performance was the first by an all-black classical symphony orchestra in the history of Carnegie Hall. (Photo University of Rochester/J. Adam Fenster)


The Gateways Music Festival Orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut on Sunday April 24, the last day of the Gateways Music Festival week in association with the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music.

Founded in 1993, the orchestra brings together classical musicians of African descent from professional orchestras across the country to share in the creation and performance of music and to promote its philosophy “that classical music belongs to all and that people of African descent have played an important role”. role in classical music for centuries.

The concert featured conductor Anthony Parnther of the San Bernadino Symphony Orchestra and the Southeast Symphony & Chorus in Los Angeles; and Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer Jon Batiste, who performed the world premiere of a commission for the orchestra.

The concert also included works by German composer Johannes Brahms (1833–1897); George Walker ’56E (DMA) (1922-2018), the first composer of African descent to win a Pulitzer Prize (Lilas for voice and orchestra, 1996); Florence Price (1887–1953), the first African-American composer to have her work performed by a large orchestra (1933 Chicago Symphony performance of Symphony No. 1 in E minor); and the orchestra’s signature closing piece, Fancy on Lift up every voice and singby African-American film and classical music composer James Cockerham.

The historic concert was broadcast live on WXXI in Rochester and on classic New York station WQXR.

Keywords: diversity, Eastman School of Music, Gateways Music Festival, performing arts

Category: In Pictures

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