Guildhall School of Music & Drama awards fellowship to clarinettist Anthony McGill

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Anthony McGill, who is currently Milton Court Artist-in-Residence for the 2023/24 Season, accepted his Honorary Fellowship on stage at Milton Court Concert Hall last Friday evening. During the concert he joined forces with chamber ensemble Kaleidoscope Collective for Coleridge-Taylor’s Clarinet Quintet, before performing Mozart’s Gran Partita with Guildhall School musicians. In reading Anthony McGill’s citation, Principal Professor Jonathan Vaughan highlighted his many successes as a soloist and orchestra musician, his work to “promote music by underrepresented historic composers as well as new work” and “extend music education to underserved communicates”, and his advocacy for “social justice” and “matters of race and equality in classical music”.

Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character” (New York Times), clarinetist Anthony McGill enjoys a dynamic international solo and chamber music career and is principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic — the first African-American principal player in the organization’s history. He is the recipient of the 2020 Avery Fisher Prize, one of classical music’s most significant awards, and was named Musical America’s 2024 Instrumentalist of the Year. American Stories, his album with the Pacifica Quartet, was nominated for a GRAMMY® for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.

McGill appears as a soloist with top orchestras, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. He performed alongside Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Gabriela Montero at theinauguration of President Barack Obama, premiering a piece by John Williams. As a chamber musician, McGill is a collaborator of the Brentano, Daedalus, Guarneri, JACK, Miró, Pacifica, Shanghai, Takács, and Tokyo Quartets, and performs with leading artists including Emanuel Ax, Inon Barnatan, Gloria Chien, Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham, Midori, Mitsuko Uchida, and Lang Lang.

He serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School and is the Artistic Director for Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program. He holds the William R. and Hyunah Yu Brody Distinguished Chair at the Curtis Institute of Music.

In 2020, McGill’s #TakeTwoKnees campaign protesting the death of George Floyd and historic racial injustice went viral. In 2023, he partnered with Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative to organize a classical music industry convening at EJI’s Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, in which leaders and artists in classical music examined America’s history of racial inequality and how this legacy continues to impact their work. He is a Backun Artist and performs exclusively on Backun Clarinets.