WXXI AM News

Gateways Music Festival

Jeanne Fisher/WXXI

The Gateways Music Festival is dragging classical music into the 21st century. 

On Monday, organizers of the event designed to create exposure for classical musicians of black or African descent will announce three significant changes to the 26-year-old festival.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

The Gateways Music Festival is in Rochester this week, capped off by a concert Sunday in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre.

The 125 musicians from all over the country rehearsed Friday morning, in advance of a preview concert held that afternoon, and among them was Amadi  Azikiwe, a violin and viola player based in New York City.

The Gateways Music Festival is back. The six-day festival that celebrates and supports classical musicians of African descent kicks off on Tuesday in Rochester. Nationwide, less than two percent of orchestra members are African American.

Gateways organizers say they hope their programming will inspire underrepresented musicians and audience members to seek out classical music. They join us to preview the festival and its music. In studio:

  • Lee Koonce, president and artistic director of the Gateways Music Festival
  • James Norman, president of the Gateways Music Festival Board of Directors
  • Herb Smith, trumpeter with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and member of the Artistic Programs Committee for the Gateways Music Festival

University of Rochester

A well-known figure in the University of Rochester community  has died. Paul Burgett died Wednesday after a brief illness, he was 72. 

"I really love Rochester. I love the simplicity. I love the sense of neighborhood. I love the fact that it's common to speak to people on the street even if you don't know them."

So says retired music teacher Teryle (pronounced “TARE-il”) Watson, who possesses a birds’ eye view of music programs across the spectrum.  

www.gatewaysmusicfestival.org

The Gateways Music Festival in Rochester is getting a big boost in the effort to expand its offerings.

That festival, whose mission is to support professional classical musicians of African descent, has been awarded a $300,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The president and artistic director for the festival, Lee Koonce, says that grant will allow Gateways to eventually add two full-time staff positions.

The 22nd Gateways Music Festival starts on Tuesday, August 11. The mission of the festival is to increase the visibility and heighten public awareness of the contributions to classical music by musicians of African descent. What can we expect from this year’s festival? We chat with those involved in planning and those who are performing:

  • Barbara Jones, chair of the Gateways Festival Planning Committee
  • Teryle Watson, Gateways Artistic Program Committee member
  • Christopher Brewley, violinist
  • Epongue Ekille, violinist

Need to Know Rochester - August 15, 2013

Aug 16, 2013

On this edition of Need to Know Rochester:

▪ Penfield Superintendent Steve Grimm gives his take on how the District beat out many others in the area on recent state test results

▪ A look at local training to help police officers respond to 9-1-1 calls involving mentally unstable residents

▪ Black history meets classical music in the Gateways Music Festival celebrating its 20th anniversary this week

▪ Buffalo Bills Offensive Lineman, Eric Wood, discusses his new leadership role on the team

This Week on Need to Know Rochester - 8.15.13

Aug 14, 2013

Coming up this week on Need to Know Rochester:

▪ A look at how Penfield Central School District scores beat out other area districts in recent state tests

▪ Local training improves police response to the mentally ill

▪ Gateways Music Festival celebrates 20th anniversary this week

▪ A conversation with Buffalo Bills Offensive Lineman, Eric Wood