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Anthony McGill Receives $100,000 Avery Fisher Prize

Mr. McGill is a 2000 graduate of Curtis and has served on the faculty since 2015.

Anthony McGillCurtis faculty member and alumnus Anthony McGill (Clarinet ’00) has been awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize for his achievements as an outstanding instrumentalist and prominent advocate for social change. Considered among the top solo, chamber, and orchestral musicians today, Mr. McGill receives a monetary award of $100,000 with an additional $30,000 to be donated to create a scholarship fund for the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, where he serves as artistic director.

The Prize was awarded by unanimous decision in December 2019, and will be celebrated in a virtual ceremony tonight, Tuesday, September 15 at 6 p.m. ET. As the New York Times reports, “His contributions this year to the Black Lives Matter movement have reinforced why he won the prize in the first place,” referring, in part, to Mr. McGill’s #TakeTwoKnees movement on social media. This effort, created in response to the killing of George Floyd, is one of many led by Curtis alumni to advance equity, diversity, and anti-racism through social media campaigns, career development programs, community advocacy, and more.

A member of the Curtis faculty since 2015, Mr. McGill is principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and is the first African-American musician to hold a principal position in the orchestra. He previously served as principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and associate principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony.

A native of Chicago, Mr. McGill has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and South Africa in recital, in chamber music, and as a soloist. He has collaborated with Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman (Piano ’77), Gil Shaham, Midori, Mitsiko Uchida, and Lang Lang (Piano ’02); and in January of 2009 performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Gabriela Montero at President Obama’s first inauguration.

Mr. McGill, who also received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2000, joins an impressive roster of musicians who have received the Prize since its founding over 40 years ago, including 2018 recipient Leila Josefowicz (Violin ’97).




Curtis students, alumni, and faculty, are making remarkable accomplishments in the music world and beyond. Learn more about Curtis in the News.