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Chineke! Orchestra

Mar 20

Europe’s first majority-Black and ethnically diverse orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra was founded with the intention of providing opportunities for composers and performers of color in a field that traditionally minimizes non-white participants. The orchestra’s Lincoln Center debut (part of their premiere North American tour), presented in partnership with the New York Philharmonic and The Juilliard School, offers a bravura selection of thought-provoking works led by guest conductor Andrew Grams of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. The program will include the trailblazing 20th-century composer Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1; Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, featuring NY Phil Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill; and Fate Now Conquers by the contemporary American composer Carlos Simon.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Guest Experience at (212) 875-5456 or

Co-presented by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the New York Philharmonic, and The Juilliard School

Chineke! Orchestra


7:30 PM




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Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall


Program Notes


Clarinet Concerto



Symphony No. 1

Carlos Simon

Fate Now Conquers



  • Andrew Grams


    With a unique combination of intensity, enthusiasm, and technical clarity, American conductor Andrew Grams has steadily built a reputation for his dynamic concerts, ability to connect with audiences, and long-term orchestra building. Named Illinois Council of Orchestras Conductor of the Year in 2015, he has led American orchestras including the Chicago, Detroit, National, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas, and Houston symphony orchestras, as well as The Philadelphia Orchestra. He became music director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra after an international search in 2013, and recently concluded his tenure there after eight seasons.

    Grams has worked extensively with orchestras abroad, including the Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Barcelona symphony orchestras, and the Orchestre National de France, Hong Kong Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra London, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and Het Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, Netherlands. He has led multiple performances of New York City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and the premiere of a new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker for Oslo’s Norwegian National Ballet.

    As an educator, Andrew Grams has worked with orchestras at institutions such as the Curtis Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Roosevelt University, National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland, and Amsterdam Conservatorium.

    Born in Severn, Maryland, he began studying violin at age eight. In 1999 he received a bachelor of music in violin performance from The Juilliard School, and in 2003 he received a conducting degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. He was selected to spend the summer of 2003 studying with David Zinman, Murry Sidlin, and Michael Stern at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, and returned there in 2004. Grams served as assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra, 2004–07, working under the guidance of Franz Welser-Möst, and has since returned for several engagements.

    An accomplished violinist, Grams was a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra from 1998 to 2004, serving as acting associate principal second violin in 2002 and 2004. Additionally, he has performed with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

    Learn more about Andrew Grams
  • Chineke!


  • Anthony McGill


    Anthony McGill joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Clarinet, The Edna and W. Van Alan Clark Chair, in September 2014, becoming the Philharmonic’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 to musicians who represent the highest level of musical excellence.

    Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character” (The New York Times) and “exquisite combination of technical refinement and expressive radiance” (The Baltimore Sun), he is recognized as one of the classical music world’s finest solo, chamber, and orchestral musicians. McGill also serves as an ardent advocate for helping music education reach underserved communities and for addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in classical music. He took 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.

    Anthony McGill appears regularly as a soloist with top orchestras around North America, including the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and Kansas City Symphony. As a chamber musician, McGill is a 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 toured with Musicians from Marlboro and regularly performs for 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.

    McGill has recorded Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, led by then Music Director Alan Gilbert, released on Dacapo Records. He has also recorded three albums released by Cedille Records: one with his brother, Seattle Symphony principal flute Demarre McGill, and pianist Michael McHale; another featuring the Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets with the Pacifica Quartet; and Winged Creatures, recorded with Demarre McGill and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras led by Allen Tinkham. McGill collaborated with Gloria Chien on his first album, which featured music from France, Russia, and America.

    A dedicated champion of new music, Anthony McGill premiered Richard Danielpour’s From the Mountaintop in 2014, written for him and commissioned by the New Jersey Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, and Orchestra 2001. In 2021 he joined the Pacifica Quartet to perform the world premiere of James Lee III: Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet. He served as the 2015–16 Artist-in-Residence at WQXR and has appeared on Performance Today, MPR’s Saint Paul Sunday, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He has appeared on NBC Nightly News and MSNBC in stories about the McGill brothers. In 2020 his #TakeTwoKnees campaign protesting the death of George Floyd and historic racial injustice went viral.

    A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Anthony McGill previously served as principal clarinet of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and associate principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In demand as a teacher, he serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, and he is artistic director of the Music Advancement Program at Juilliard. He is on the Board of Directors of the Harmony Program and on the advisory council of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York.

    Learn more about Anthony McGill

Special Thanks

This concert is part of the Wu Tsai Series Inaugural Season.


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February 8–11
Anthony McGill Performs Salonen

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Beethoven’s stirring Symphony No. 7 and the US Premiere of his Kínēma for solo clarinet and orchestra, played by Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill.

April 14–18
Sir András Schiff, Haydn, and Mozart

Sir András Schiff conducts Haydn and Mozart concertos from the piano. Plus, Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and Mozart's Don Giovanni Overture

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