On Monday, January 2, 2023, Gateways Music Festival in association with Eastman School of Music announced the inaugural season of Gateways Radio, thirteen one-hour episodes of a nationally syndicated radio program featuring music performed and written by classical musicians of African descent from the Gateways Music Festival and others from across the nation and around the world. The series is hosted and produced by Garrett McQueen, a musician, media producer, and interdisciplinary arts activist, well known for his efforts to give voice and offer space to music by Black creators and marginalized composers.
The series, distributed by the Chicago-based WFMT Radio Network, is produced in partnership with Rochester’s WXXI Classical and as of January 3, 2023, Gateways Radio is available to public radio stations nationwide.
Gateways’ President & Artistic Director Lee Koonce said: “We are thrilled to launch Gateways Radio, featuring exceptional performances by the finest soloists and ensembles of the Gateways Music Festival – many of which will be heard for the first time outside the Festival. We are also excited that the series will include performers who are not affiliated with the Festival. This series expands Gateways’ reach and provides opportunities to bring the work of these artists to an even larger audience.”
Gateways Radio was first introduced at the virtual Gateways Music Festival in November 2020, also hosted and produced by Garrett McQueen. The success of that 15-hour series led to the current expanded national launch.
In its debut radio season, Gateways Radio features works by James V. Cockerham, William Grant Still, William Levi Dawson, Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Adolphus Hailstork, Carlos Simon, arrangements of traditional spirituals by Harry T. Burleigh, Hall Johnson, and many others. Performers include pianists Armenta Hummings Dumisani and Althea Waites, saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Thomas Walsh, clarinetists Alexander Laing and Anthony McGill, the Imani Winds, Catalyst Quartet, Harlem Quartet, and the Gateways Orchestra, with performances under the baton of Anthony Parnther and Gateways’ late music director Michael Morgan.
Lee Koonce continued: “Garrett’s work on this series is truly extraordinary. His commentary is informative and engaging and brings a unique perspective and context to these performances. It is just the right balance. And because Garrett is a long-time member of the Gateways family, having performed with the Gateways Orchestra and having sat on our Artistic Programs Committee, he has a thorough understanding of the Festival’s work and purpose.”
“WXXI has been a proud media sponsor of the Gateways Music Festival for many years, which included a live broadcast of the orchestra’s Carnegie Hall debut in NYC in 2022,” said WXXI Classical Program Director Ruth Phinney. “It’s been an honor to spotlight the incredible work of Black classical musicians. And now, we are pleased to be the production partner for this 13-part radio series that will share their incredible talent with listeners across the country.”
George Preston, WFMT Vice President & General Manager said, “We at the WFMT Radio Network have been following the exciting activities of the Gateways Music Festival for several years, and we could not be more thrilled to bring Gateways Radio to a national audience and to listeners here in Chicago. We are proud to partner with the musicians and staff of Gateways and our colleagues at WXXI in Rochester. The Gateways Music Festival is opening up a vital future for classical music, and we are honored to be part of it.”
To learn more about Gateways Radio or locate stations that broadcast the series, go to GatewaysRadio.org.
ABOUT GARRETT MCQUEEN
A native of Memphis, TN, Garrett McQueen is a bassoonist who has performed and collaborated with orchestras and organizations throughout the US, including the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra and Gateways Music Festival Orchestra. Giving voice and offering space to music by Black creators and marginalized composers drives his passion for music and continues to be his primary focus as a performer.
In addition to remaining active in performance spaces, Garrett is the host and producer of the nationally-syndicated radio programs, “The Sound of 13” and “The Sounds of Kwanzaa,” and has been heard both as a performer and guest host on APM’s “Performance Today.” Away from the airwaves, Garrett specializes in music and racial equity presentations, collaborating with the Gateways Music Festival, the Sphinx Organization, the Kennedy Center, the Apollo Theater, the San Francisco Symphony, and countless schools, colleges, and universities. The press has noted Garrett not only as a “classical agitator,” but also “a Black talent in public media that you may not know, but should.” In 2021, the New York Times noted his weekly podcast, TRILLOQUY, as a standout and one that is “required listening for industry leaders and listeners alike.”
Garrett was recently appointed the Director of Artist Equity for the American Composers Orchestra, and he maintains leadership and artistic advisory positions with the Black Opera Alliance, the Gateways Music Festival, and the Lakes Area Music Festival.
To read Garrett’s full bio, visit his website at http://www.garrettmcqueen.com.
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 Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1993 by noted concert pianist Armenta Hummings Dumisani, the Festival was brought to Rochester, NY in 1997 when Hummings Dumisani joined the Eastman School of Music faculty. Approximately 125 musicians–players in major symphony orchestras, faculty from renowned music schools and conservatories, and active freelance artists–participate in each Festival. In 2016, while remaining an independent non-profit organization, Gateways formalized its long-time relationship with Eastman and the University of Rochester. Among other mutual benefits, this deepened relationship provided many of the resources and infrastructure necessary for Gateways to increase its programming capacity, appoint its first paid staff position and broaden the impact that the organization has made in and beyond Rochester, New York.
In addition to the annual full-orchestra festival held in the Spring, other Gateways initiatives include a yearly chamber music festival each Fall; the Daily Showcase, a social media campaign featuring a Black classical composer every day on Facebook and Instagram; the Gateways Brass Collective, the only all-Black professional brass quintet in the country; the Gateways Residency which presents renown Gateways artists in recital, master classes and community-based activities throughout the year and across the country; and, starting in January 2023, Gateways Radio, a one-hour syndicated radio program featuring Black classical artists on radio stations across the United States.
ABOUT THE WFMT RADIO NETWORK
The WFMT Radio Network, the international syndication division of award-winning Chicago classical music station WFMT, distributing radio series and specials worldwide with a mission to enrich lives, engage communities, and inspire exploration. The WFMT Radio Network portfolio includes concerts by the Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, Gateways Radio, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, as well as ongoing series such as Collectors’ Corner, Fiesta!, and Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin.
WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Visit wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.
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. Mr. 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. They are 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.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER
The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.