Anthony Parnther (photo: Konstantin Golovchinsky)
Gateways Music Festival in association with Eastman School of Music announced today that Anthony Parnther will lead the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra at its eagerly anticipated Carnegie Hall debut (April 24). Known for his “charismatic, captivating conducting” (Los Angeles Times), Parnther takes the place of long-time Gateways music director and conductor Michael Morgan, who passed away in August of this year after complications from a kidney transplant.
 
Lee Koonce, Gateways’ President & Artistic Director, says:
“Anthony is an extraordinary person and musician and we are delighted that he will lead the Gateways Orchestra for its historic Carnegie Hall debut. He has a wonderful sense of humor, impeccable artistic standards and a wonderful rapport with the musicians. I might add that he was the first choice of Gateways’ Artistic Programs Committee, a group of around 20 musicians, many of whom have worked with him previously in Hollywood on various projects, including Black Panther.”
Parnther comments:
“The invitation to conduct the Gateways Orchestra at such an important concert is both humbling and exhilarating. I am especially moved by this opportunity to build upon the strong legacy left by Michael Morgan, a long-time friend and mentor. Additionally, I have worked with many of the extraordinary Gateways musicians, and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to reconnect with many of them who have become friends over the years.”
Anthony Parnther serves as Music Director and Conductor of California’s San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra and the Southeast Symphony and Chorus, founded as an all-Black ensemble in 1948. Highly sought after as a guest conductor, he has also led such eminent American orchestras as the Philadelphia OrchestraLos Angeles Philharmonic and Atlanta Symphony, which he conducted at its celebrated live screening of Black Panther, and such leading international ensembles as the Chineke! Orchestra, with which he re-opened London’s newly-renovated Queen Elizabeth Hall in a historic concert that was broadcast live worldwide by the BBC. Based in Los Angeles, he has led the Hollywood Studio Symphony in recording sessions for many international feature film and television projects, including Star Wars: The MandalorianTenetLittleAmerican DadThe HuntFargoThe Way BackThe Night OfGhostbusters: AfterlifeEncantoStar Wars: Book of Boba Fett and Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild. As Principal Conductor of e-sports titan League of Legends, his performances in Barcelona, Beijing, Seoul and Los Angeles are among the most widely-viewed symphonic concerts in the world, drawing live audiences of between 50 and 75 thousand spectators, as well as an online viewership of approximately 100 million livestreams for each Finals Opening Ceremony concert. Parnther attended both Northwestern University and Yale University and is a bassoonist as well as conductor.
 
The 2022 Gateways Music Festival takes place from April 18 through April 24, 2022, in Rochester, NY, and New York City. For its Carnegie Hall debut, the orchestra’s program showcases the world premiere of a new Gateways commission from 2021-22 Carnegie Hall “Perspectives” artist Jon Batiste, the Oscar-winning, Grammy-nominated music director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, alongside Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by HaydnFlorence Price’s Third Symphony and Sinfonia No. 3 by George Walker, the first African-American laureate of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, whose centennial falls next year. The concert concludes with James V. Cockerham’s Fantasia on Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a signature piece for the ensemble, whose distinguished members hail from the foremost orchestras and conservatory teaching faculties nationwide.
 
Some of New York City’s most esteemed cultural institutions will partner with Gateways Music Festival at the upcoming festival. In addition to Carnegie Hall and its Weill Music Institute, these include the 92nd Street Y, The Cooper Union, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Library & Museum, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Steinway Hall. New York City’s WQXR and Rochester’s WXXI Public Media will serve as media sponsors for the seven-day festival. A full schedule of New York City festival events is provided below, and further details are available here.
About Gateways Music Festival
The mission of Gateways Music Festival is to connect and support professional classical musicians of African descent and enlighten and inspire communities through the power of performance. Founded in 1993 by concert pianist and retired Eastman School of Music associate professor Armenta Hummings Dumisani, Gateways comprises 125 musicians – players in major symphony orchestras, faculty from renowned music schools and conservatories, and active freelancers – who perform at concert halls and community venues throughout their host city. In May 2016, Gateways Music Festival formally affiliated with the Eastman School of Music, a festival partner since 1995, but remains an independent non-profit organization.
About Eastman School of Music
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music – about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars and educators, who include Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Guggenheim fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community. Additionally, more than 1,700 members of the Rochester community, from young children through senior citizens, are enrolled in the Eastman Community Music School.