WBEZ | Anthony McGill http://www.wbez.org/tags/anthony-mcgill Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Classical musician Anthony McGill brings his 'Inaugural' chops back home to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-01/classical-musician-anthony-mcgill-brings-his-inaugural-chops-back-home <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6960_artists_anthony_mcgill_9717.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Anthony McGill (courtesy artist/Katie Smith)" /></div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75466826" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Chicago native and classical clarinetist <a href="http://www.anthonymcgill.com/">Anthony McGill </a>comes home this weekend to perform with the <a href="http://www.chicagosinfonietta.org/">Chicago Sinfonietta</a>, at their 25th annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</p><p>This year, the concert coincides with the second Inauguration of President Barack Obama. So it&#39;s fitting that McGill is part of the Sinfonietta line-up: After all, he got the gig of a lifetime when he performed at the previous Inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. &nbsp;</p><p>McGill played with an all-star line-up of classical musicians that day: Violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo Yo Ma, and pianist Gabriela&nbsp; Montero. Together they performed John Williams&#39; &quot;Air and Simple Gifts,&quot; live on the Capitol steps.</p><p>Well, sort of. That January day in Washington was so cold <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/22/inauguration-musicians_n_160216.html">the performers didn&#39;t dare risk a live performance</a> - it would have been impossible to stay in tune. So the musicians actually played along to a track they&#39;d recorded earlier.</p><p>Still, McGill says the experience was profound. &quot;There was such emotion. I mean Yo Yo plays with more emotion than any player I&rsquo;ve ever, ever met. To be next to that sort of emotion you feel it. You can actually feel it, like it&rsquo;s something touching you inside, coming from the sound of an instrument. And this is what you want to do, every time you are performing.&quot;</p><p>To play at the highest level is something Anthony McGill achieved long before his presidential gig. In classical music circles he&rsquo;s considered one of the finest clarinetists playing today &ndash; as a solo, chamber <em>and</em> symphonic performer.&nbsp; He&rsquo;s currently the principal clarinet with the <a href="http://www.metoperafamily.org/">Met</a> in New York.</p><p>But his ambitions started much earlier, on his home turf: Chatham, on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side.</p><p>McGill grew up in in a tight-knit, highly creative family.&nbsp; There he developed a strong case of not so much sibling rivalry, as sibling reverence, for his older brother Demarre.</p><p>&quot;I definitely wanted to be like my brother,&quot; Anthony McGill said. &quot;I did everything he did. And if he liked it, I liked it. And he loved music, he loved the flute.&quot;</p><p>Demarre McGill is now principal flute with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.&nbsp;</p><p>That one family gave rise to two classical talents is unusual. Anthony McGill credits a wide network of support. It began with his parents, who appreciated and performed music (Demarre&#39;s first flute belonged to his father).</p><p>&quot;They were like: &#39;If you love it, and you want to work hard at it, go for it.&#39; This was not just with music but anything we did,&quot; Anthony McGill said.</p><p>He also benefited from what he calls &quot;the finest instruction I could have received in Chicago&nbsp;&ndash; or maybe anywhere,&quot; including David Tuttle at <a href="http://meritmusic.org/">Chicago&#39;s Merit School of Music</a>, Stanley Davis (then with the Chicago Lyric Opera, now at the <a href="http://www.musicinst.org/stanley-davis">Music Institute of Chicago</a>, and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Combs">Larry Combs</a> and <a href="http://music.depaul.edu/FacultyAndStaff/D/jderoche.asp">Julie Deroche</a>&nbsp;(both now at DePaul University).</p><p>Even then, McGill&#39;s accomplishments are hard won. <a href="http://www.wqxr.org/#!/articles/conducting-business/2011/feb/17/black-classical-musicians-rewriting-odds/">Only a small percentage of orchestra musicians are African-American</a> &ndash; and only a handful hold principal positions like Anthony and Demarre do.</p><p>McGill says he thinks things are changing, slowly but surely. It might not always be evident in the orchestra pit. But you can spot it in music schools.</p><p>&quot;You have lots of minorities of different types &ndash; Hispanics, blacks, Asians &ndash; you name it, going through those conservatories,&quot; he said. &quot;So what I see is that there is a change happening, of diversity.&quot;</p><p>Meanwhile, McGill is doing everything he can to step up the pace &ndash; mainly by exposing young people to music, through lessons, performances &ndash; even <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JCYYzP3U9s">how-to videos </a>and musical apps.&nbsp;</p><p>But he isn&rsquo;t just interested in developing an appreciation for classical repertoire. McGill hopes to support younger musicians in a more profound way, the way his parents supported him.</p><p>&quot;It has to come from a deeper place which is a place of connection, and humanity and love. And I think if we focus on that that things will take care of themselves, hopefully. And music will continue.&quot;</p><p><br /><em>Anthony McGill performs Aaron Copland&#39;s &#39;Clarinet Concerto&#39; with the Chicago Sinfonietta Sunday in Naperville and Monday in Chicago.</em></p></p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 11:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-01/classical-musician-anthony-mcgill-brings-his-inaugural-chops-back-home