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Anthony McGill to Hold New Distinguished Chair at Curtis

The William R. and Hyunah Yu Brody Distinguished Chair recognizes exceptional artistry and pedagogy

Anthony McGill_credit Eric RuddPHILADELPHIA—March 10, 2021—The Curtis Institute of Music announces the appointment of clarinet faculty member Anthony McGill to the William R. and Hyunah Yu Brody Distinguished Chair, effective immediately. Mr. McGill, principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and a 2000 graduate of Curtis, has served on the faculty since 2015.

Created through a generous gift by William R. Brody, M.D., Ph.D. and Hyunah Yu Brody, the newly created endowed chair will be held by a member of the Curtis faculty who brings distinction to the school through their musical art and pedagogy. This inaugural appointment recognizes and celebrates Mr. McGill’s significant accomplishments in classical music.

Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character” (New York Times) and his “exquisite combination of technical refinement and expressive radiance” (Baltimore Sun), Mr. McGill serves as the principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and he is that orchestra’s first African-American principal player. He is the recipient of the 2020 Avery Fisher Prize, one of classical music’s most significant awards given in recognition of musicians who represent the highest level of musical excellence.

Mr. McGill maintains a dynamic international solo and chamber music career. So far his 2021 schedule has included performances with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and recitals presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and The Metropolitan Museum of Art featuring the world premiere of a work by Richard Danielpour. He is an ardent advocate for helping music education reach underserved communities and for addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in classical music. In teaching he encourages musicians to develop as artists and as citizens, encouraging them to use their talents to positively impact the world.

“We are delighted and honored that Anthony McGill will be the inaugural recipient of this endowed chair,” said the Brodys—Hyunah a performing musician and Bill a member of the Curtis board of trustees. “Anthony is a remarkable leader as well as a uniquely gifted teacher and distinguished musician. We are proud to create this opportunity for lasting recognition of the artistic and community impact of the Curtis faculty.”

In addition to his role at Curtis, Mr. McGill serves on the faculties at Bard College Conservatory and the Juilliard School, where he is also artistic director of the Music Advancement Program (MAP), a Saturday program for music students which actively seeks students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in the classical music field regardless of financial background. In September 2020, in connection with his receipt of the Avery Fisher Prize, Mr. McGill co-founded the Weston Sprott and Anthony McGill MAP Summer Scholarship Fund to provide advanced music students in the program with the financial resources to participate in summer music programs and festivals.

“We are so grateful to Bill and Hyunah for their unique vision in creating this chair that recognizes equally the performance artistry and teaching dimensions of our distinguished faculty,” stated Roberto Díaz, president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music. “The impact that Anthony has had as an artist, a teacher, and as a leader in the community can be felt far beyond the walls of Curtis. We are thrilled to be able to honor that service in this way and look forward to our future together.”

“I would like to thank the Curtis Institute of Music for this honor, and William and Hyunah Yu Brody for creating this chair. It was my privilege to study with Donald Montanaro when I was a student at Curtis, and it is an honor to continue the tradition of training the next generation of great artists. I think the artistry, integrity, and perseverance that I see in the students I teach are a fitting celebration of him and all my teachers,” said Mr. McGill. 

Clarinetist Anthony McGill is one of classical music’s most recognizable and brilliantly multifaceted figures. He serves as the principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and previously served as the principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera and associate principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

An active chamber musician, Mr. McGill was honored to take part in the inauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece written for the occasion by John Williams, alongside violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and pianist Gabriela Montero. In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, on May 25, 2020, he launched a powerful musical protest video urging people to #TakeTwoKnees in demonstration against the death of Mr. Floyd and historic racial injustice. His video went viral, and hundreds of artists and citizens amplified and responded to the protest with their own videos using the hashtag.

Mr. McGill appears regularly as a soloist with top orchestras around North America including the New York Philharmonic; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; and Baltimore, San Diego, and Kansas City symphonies. As a chamber musician, he is a favorite collaborator of the Brentano, Daedalus, Guarneri, JACK, Miró, Pacifica, Shanghai, Takács, and Tokyo quartets; as well as Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnatan, Gloria Chien, Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham, Midori, Mitsuko Uchida, and Lang Lang. He has led tours with Musicians from Marlboro and regularly performs at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Festival appearances include Tanglewood, Marlboro, Mainly Mozart, and Music@Menlo; as well as the Santa Fe, Seattle, and Skaneateles chamber music festivals.

In 2015, Mr. McGill recorded the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. He has also recorded an album with his brother, Demarre McGill, principal flute of the Seattle Symphony, and pianist Michael McHale; and an album featuring the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets with the Pacifica Quartet, both released by Cedille Records.

A dedicated champion of new music, Mr. McGill premiered a piece written for him by Richard Danielpour entitled From the Mountaintop (2014), commissioned by the New Jersey Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, and Orchestra 2001. He served as the 2015–16 artist in residence for WQXR and has appeared on Performance Today, MPR’s St. Paul Sunday Morning, and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. In 2013, McGill appeared on the NBC Nightly News and on MSNBC in stories highlighting the McGill brothers’ inspirational story.

In demand as a teacher, Mr. McGill serves on the faculties of the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Bard College Conservatory. In Fall 2020 he was named artist in residence at the Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. He serves as the artistic director for the Music Advancement Program at Juilliard, on the board of directors for both the League of American Orchestras and the Harmony Program, and on the advisory councils for the InterSchool Orchestras of New York and Time in Children’s Arts Initiative. Mr. McGill is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music.

The Curtis Institute of Music educates and trains exceptionally gifted young musicians to engage a local and global community through the highest level of artistry. For nearly a century Curtis has provided each member of its small student body with an unparalleled education alongside musical peers, distinguished by a “learn by doing” philosophy and personalized attention from a faculty that includes a high proportion of actively performing musicians. To ensure that admissions are based solely on artistic promise, Curtis makes an investment in each admitted student so that no tuition is charged for their studies. In a typical year, Curtis students hone their craft through more than 200 orchestra, opera, and solo and chamber music offerings in Philadelphia and around the world.


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