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Gateways Music Festival receives $800,000 award from Mellon Foundation

Keith Bullis

The Gateways Music Festival is getting a substantial grant to continue its mission of supporting classical musicians of African descent.

Gateways is receiving an $800,000 award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The grant will help support Gateways Carnegie Hall debut on April 24, 2022. That historic occasion will see the Gateways Orchestra become the first all-Black classical symphony orchestra to be presented by Carnegie Hall in the venue’s 130-year history.

The Gateways Music Festival will dedicate its Carnegie hall debut to long-time music director for Gateways, Michael Morgan, who died on Aug. 20, 2021.

Susan Feder, program officer for arts and culture with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, said that the organization is “delighted not only to have renewed but also increased support to the Gateways Music Festival in order to help ensure the success of its April 2022 tour to New York City.”

Gateways’ Board Chair Kearstin Piper Brown called the award “a powerful confirmation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s belief in Gateways’ unique mission, and it acknowledges our importance in today’s classical music ecosystem.”

Gateways’ President and Artistic Director Lee Koonce noted that the Carnegie Hall concert will be dedicated to Michael Morgan. Koonce said that Morgan’s “influence on the Gateways organization and the musicians is profound.” Koonce said that Gateways is committed to bringing “our special brand of classical music-making to New York City just as he envisioned.”

Besides the Carnegie Hall concert, there will be several additional Gateways concerts and events, both in New York City and also in Rochester. The events in Rochester take place next year on April 18-20, and the appearances in New York City take place April 21-24.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.