GMF 2020 | Festival Overview

Special Guest Artists

Special guest artists include Anthony McGill, principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and the 2020 Avery Fisher Prize winner, and Thapelo Masita, a South-African-born cellist and graduate of the Eastman School of Music.

Mr. McGill will perform works by Jesse Montgomery (Peace), James Lee III (Ad Anah?), Georg Philipp Telemann (Fantasia No. 2 in A minor, TWV 40:3), and Leonard Bernstein (Sonata for Clarinet and Piano).

[Tuesday, November 10 | Pre-concert Conversation @ 7:00 p.m. and Concert @ 7:30 p.m. | Tickets: In advance – $10 for Adults and $5 for students and seniors; Day of – $15 for Adults and $5 for students and seniors; Free for children under 18. For groups or if you are unable to afford a ticket, please contact us at info@gatewaymusicfestival.org.]

Mr. Masita will perform Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G major (BWV 1007) interwoven with African-American spirituals and South African folk songs.

[Wednesday, November 11 | Pre-concert Conversation @ 7:00 p.m. and Concert @ 7:30 p.m. | Tickets: In advance – $10 for Adults and $5 for students and seniors; Day of – $15 for Adults and $5 for students and seniors; Free for children under 18. For groups or if you are unable to afford a ticket, please contact us at info@gatewaymusicfestival.org.]

Opening Concert: Celebrating Rochester’s Own

“Celebrating Rochester’s Own” features Rochester-area professional classical musicians of African descent.  Artists include Herb Smith, trumpet; George Taylor, viola; Nicole Cabell, soprano; Kearstin Piper Brown, soprano; Armand Hall, clarinet; Elena O’Connor, soprano; and Lee Wright, piano.

Pre-Concert Conversation: Kearstin Piper Brown, soprano and Gateways board member; Herbert Smith, trumpet and Gateways Artistic Programs Committee; Lee Koonce, President & Artistic Director, Gateways Music Festival.

[Monday, November 9 | Pre-concert Conversation @ 7:00 p.m. and Concert @ 7:30 p.m. | Tickets: In advance – $10 for Adults and $5 for students and seniors; Day of – $15 for Adults and $5 for students and seniors; Free for children under 18. For groups or if you are unable to afford a ticket, please contact us at info@gatewaymusicfestival.org.]


Jessye Norman
(1945-2019)

Gateways Music Festival dedicates the opening concert of the 2020 virtual chamber music festival, Celebrating Rochester’s Own, to the memory of the extraordinary and beloved soprano Jessye Norman.


Gateways Radio

The debut of “Gateways Radio,” a daily five-hour program, accessible via the Festival website, featuring archived and unreleased performances from past Gateways Music Festivals. Hosted by Garrett McQueen (shown below).

Broadcast Times

Monday, November 9 | 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 10 | 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 11 | 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 12 | 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Friday, November 13 | 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Paul J. Burgett Memorial Lecture Series

In memory of Gateways’ late Board Chair Paul J. Burgett, this series features “talks,” panel discussions and facilitated conversations.

Talk: Musical Crossroads | Dr. Dwandalyn Reece, curator of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, talks about the Museum’s music collection, Musical Crossroads.  [Tuesday, November 10 | 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | No ticket required.]

Panel Discussion: Black Lives Matter and Classical Music | Moderator Garrett McQueen leads a panel of distinguished musicians in a discussion about Black Lives Matter movement and classical music. Panelists include Jessica “Lady Jess” McJunkins, freelance violinist; Ann Hobson Pilot, retired principal harp, Boston Symphony Orchestra; and Titus Underwood, principal oboe, Nashville Symphony Orchestra. [Wednesday, November 11 l 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | No ticket required.]

Talk: Dr. Tammy Kernodle, president of the American Musicological Society and Professor of Musicology at Ohio University of Miami, talks about music, Black women and 19th Amendment.  [Thursday, November 12 | 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | No ticket required.]

Facilitated Conversation: Lucinda Ali, founder of Hyde Park Suzuki Institute in Chicago, IL, leads this special session for parents of children learning to play a musical instrument. [Thursday, November 12 | 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | No ticket required.]

Panel Discussion: New York City’s WQXR Radio Host Terrance McKnight hosts a conversation with Gateways musicians about the impact of Covid-19 on their lives as musicians.  Panelists Amadi Azikiwe, viola; Monica Ellis, bassoon, Imani Winds; Nkeiru Okoye. [Friday, November 13 | 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | No ticket required.]

Featured Chamber Music Ensembles

Two Gateways ensembles are featured during the Festival : a string quartet featuring Edward W. Hardy, violin; Candace Rembert, violin; Drew Alexander Forde, viola; Thapelo Masita, cello; and the Gateways Brass Collective featuring Courtney Jones, trumpet; Herb Smith, trumpet; Eric Davis, French horn; Isrea Butler, trombone; Richard White, tuba. [Friday, November 13 | Pre-Concert Conversation at 7:00 p.m. / Concert at 7:30 p.m.]

[Friday, November 13 | Pre-concert Conversation @ 7:00 p.m. and Concert @ 7:30 p.m. | Tickets: In advance – $10 for Adults and $5 for students and seniors; Day of – $15 for Adults and $5 for students and seniors; Free for children under 18. For groups or if you are unable to afford a ticket, please contact us at info@gatewaymusicfestival.org.]

Young Musicians Institute

A week-long residency with ROCmusic, Rochester’s El Sistema-inspired community-based instrumental music program, and Gateways musicians. Organized by ROCmusic Executive and Artistic Director, Dr. Armand Hall, activities include lessons, master classes and two special activities: 

Finding My Place in Rochester is a photo-text project facilitated by Dr. Sonia James-Wilson, Founder and President of ArtID International. The project invites students to explore connections between racial identity and place, communities in Rochester that foster their sense of belonging, and making music. Students’ narratives and portraits will be displayed on a special Festival website.

Music by Black Composers, violinist Rachel Barton Pines’ education series, will provide fun and engaging activities for ROCmusic students as they learn about classical composers of African descent from around the world from the 18th through 21st centuries.

Memorial Art Gallery Collection

Highlights from the Memorial Art Gallery’s collection of works by artists of African descent. (At left, Kehinde Wiley’s After Memling’s Portrait of a Man with a Letter.)

Film Screening

Documentary about the life of the renowned multi-faceted singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist, Nina Simone (1933-2003), a Juilliard-trained pianist with aspirations for a career as a concert pianist.  This screening will be viewed as a Teleparty, which requires a Netflix account.

Video & Audio Showcase

Access to Gateways’ extensive Video Archives, featuring many unreleased solo, chamber music, and full orchestra performances. The Video & Audio Showcase will also feature several videos and audio recordings of Gateways Music Festival founder and pianist Armenta Hummings Dumisani.

Friends & Colleagues

Daily feature of colleague organizations across the United States whose programs and/or missions support Black classical musicians.

Program & Media Partners

Gateways Music Festival is grateful to the following organizations for providing programming and/or communications support for the 2020 Virtual Chamber Music Festival.


Gateways Music Festival is grateful to the following foundations, corporations and governmental agencies for their support and contributions made between November 1, 2018 and October 31, 2020.