Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinet

The New York Philharmonic

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Anthony McGill

Anthony McGill joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Clarinet, The Edna and W. Van Alan Clark Chair, in September 2014. Previously principal clarinet of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra beginning in 2004, he is recognized as one of the classical music world’s finest solo, chamber, and orchestral musicians. He has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall with many orchestras, including the MET Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, and New York String Orchestra. He has also recently performed with the Baltimore, New Jersey, San Diego, and Memphis symphony orchestras and Orchestra 2001. As a chamber musician Mr. McGill has appeared throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia with quartets including the Guarneri, Tokyo, Brentano, Pacifica, Shanghai, Miró, and Daedalus. He has also appeared with Musicians from Marlboro and at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and University of Chicago Presents. His festival appearances have included Tanglewood, Marlboro, Mainly Mozart, Music@Menlo, and Santa Fe Chamber Music. He has collaborated with pianists Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Mitsuko Uchida, and Lang Lang, as well as violinists Gil Shaham and Midori. On January 20, 2009, he performed with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Gabriela Montero at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. He has appeared on Performance Today, MPR’s Saint Paul Sunday, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In 2013 with his brother Demarre, he appeared on NBC Nightly News, the Steve Harvey Show, and on MSNBC with Melissa Harris-Perry. In demand as a teacher, Anthony McGill serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Bard College Conservatory of Music, and Manhattan School of Music, and has given master classes throughout the United States, Europe, and South Africa. In 2016 he was one of five leaders honored with a John Jay Justice Award for being a “true champion of justice.”

“Performing at President Obama's inauguration was a highlight of my life and career. It was surreal seeing a million people on the National Mall in a moment that would be important for the rest of time. I was extremely proud and inspired.”

Q&A with Anthony McGill

THE FACTS: Born in Chicago, Illinois. Bachelor of music from the Curtis Institute of Music. Prior to the Philharmonic: principal clarinet of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Current teaching posts: The Juilliard School, Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Bard College Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Curtis Institute of Music. Most recent recordings: Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, and Brahms and Mozart Clarinet Quintets with the Pacifica Quartet. At the Philharmonic: Joined September 2014.

MOST INSPIRING COMPOSERS? Mozart and Brahms: they wrote the greatest music for clarinet. Mozart’s music touches every realm of possibility and genius.

WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY? My brother, Demarre, practicing flute: he was seven and I was three. I wanted to be just like him. I started clarinet at nine and asked my mom if I could switch to flute, but she refused: she didn’t want us competing. He was my earliest mentor — and is now principal flute of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

WHAT WAS THE FIRST PIECE OF MUSIC YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH? Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, when I was 11. I’d go to bed listening to the recording.

TELL US ABOUT PERFORMING AT PRESIDENT OBAMA’S INAUGURATION ALONGSIDE YO-YO MA, ITZHAK PERLMAN, AND GABRIELA MONTERO: It was a highlight of my life and career. It was surreal seeing a million people on the National Mall in a moment that would be important for the rest of time. I was extremely proud and inspired.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE ON MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD WITH YOUR BROTHER WHEN YOU WERE 15? I was a huge Mister Rogers fan growing up. I felt like I already knew him: he was just the same as he was on TV.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE PHILHARMONIC? Playing Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto in my Philharmonic solo debut. I was excited, nervous, and grateful. I first performed it when I was 15 at Interlochen, where I won the concerto competition. Coming back to it years later was like meeting an old friend: you’ve changed, but the love and challenges are familiar.

WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? I just finished Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, about shame resilience. I talk about this idea with my students: if you’re upfront with your insecurities, you can accept them and free yourself to develop more confidence and dare greatly — as a person and as a musician.

As of May 2016
Upcoming 2019-2020 Performances

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May, 2020 Sunday

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

3:00 PM Concert

Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall

Program To Include
Eric Ewazen Ballade, Pastorale, and Dance for Flute, Horn, and Piano
Stravinsky Octet
Dvořák Piano Quintet, Op. 81
Mindy Kaufman Flute
Howard Wall Horn
Zhen Chen Piano
Robert Langevin Flute
Anthony McGill Clarinet
Judith LeClair Bassoon
Kim Laskowski Bassoon
Christopher Martin Trumpet

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