Overview and Goals

20388F~3The six-day Gateways Music Festival, held in Rochester, NY, is a collaboration with the Eastman School of Music, houses of worship and the local community.  The Festival celebrates the participation and contributions of classically-trained musicians of African descent through more than 50 solo, chamber and orchestra performances in the Eastman Theatre, houses of worship, schools and other community locations throughout the city and suburbs of Rochester, New York.

Over 100  musicians from around the United States participate in the Festival and perform for a diverse and multi-ethnic audience of nearly 10,000.

The Gateways Music Festival, founded by Juilliard-trained pianist and Eastman School of Music faculty emerita Armenta (Hummings) Dumisani, strives to achieve the following goals:

  • Perform chamber and orchestra music at the highest possible level;
  • Be a catalyst for bringing together and engaging audiences from all racial and socio-economic backgrounds living in the city of Rochester, NY and its environs;
  • Provide a nurturing and professionally supportive environment for classically-trained musicians of African descent;
  • Help sustain and increase diversity within the field of classical music.


Festival highlights include:

  • Fourteen (14) Festivals since 1993 of chamber and orchestral rehearsals, performances, community-building activities and lectures/symposia in Winston-Salem, NC and Rochester, NY.
  • A three-week quartet residency in Chicago in 1997 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
  • Composers Performed:  Michael Abels, Samuel Arnold, Johan Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Eugene Bozza, Johannes Brahms, Martin Capella, Frédéric Chopin, Aaron Copland, Armando “Chick” Corea, Paquito D’Rivera, Richard Danielpour, William Levi Dawson, Claude Debussy, Nathaniel Dett, Madeleine Dring, Antonin Dvorak, Eric Ewazen, Jean Françaix, Giovanni Gabrieli, Celso Garrido-Lecca, Guido Gavilan, Wolfgang Gernot,  Adolphus Hailstork, Johan Halvorsen, Stephen Heller, Paul Hindemith, Arthur Honegger, Ulysses Kay, Fritz Kreisler, Ferdinand Kuchler, James Lee II, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Nkeiru Okoye, Coleridge Taylor Perkinson, Astor Piazzolla, Francis Poulenc, Florence Price, Maurice Ravel, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Carlos Salzedo, Pablo de Sarasate, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Alexander Scriabin, Alvin Singleton, Halsey Stevens, William Grant Still, Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Abelardo Valdés, George T. Walker, Carl Maria von Weber.
  • Renowned Participants:  Sanford Allen, violin; The Anderson Quartet; Jerome Ashby, horn; Amadi Azikiwe, viola; Paul Badura-Skoda, piano; Harlem Quartet; Anthony McGill, clarinet; Diane Monroe, violin; Michael Morgan, conductor; Tai Murray, violin; Ann Hobson Pilot, harp; Awadagin Pratt, piano; Sandra Rivers, piano; George Taylor, viola; Terrence Wilson, piano; Gregory Walker, violin; Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin.