Gateways Music Festival Announces Fall Virtual Festival Plans

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Gateways Music Festival, in association with Eastman School of Music, announces NEW DATES for its fall 2020 chamber music festival. The Festival will take place virtually November 9th through 13th.

The Rochester City School District (RCSD) and Eastman School of Music response to the COVID-19 pandemic played a large role in Gateways’ move to a virtual platform. “A key reason for moving the Festival to the fall was to increase interaction between our Gateways musicians and students from the RCSD and Eastman, and since that is no longer possible, the virtual platform provides a good way for Gateways musicians to connect with students in a safe and effective way,” said Lee Koonce, Gateways’ President & Artistic Director.

According to Koonce, “Like everyone, we are saddened to be unable to gather in person but, along with the rest of the planet, we are learning how to gather online in real time and that can meet some of our human need for contact and connection. At the same time, working in the virtual space also opens new and exciting opportunities for our audiences to engage with us at times and in spaces that work best for them.”

The 2020 Festival will include virtual solo and ensemble performances; the Paul J. Burgett Memorial Lecture Series, which among other components, includes a panel discussion on the intersections of Black Lives Matter and classical music; a week-long Residency with ROCmusic and several RCSD schools with instrumental music programs; new and re-broadcasts of recent radio programs on Rochester’s public classical music station, WXXI-FM; two film screenings; and a daily segment featuring some of Gateways’ colleague organizations from around the world.

The opening event of this year’s Festival will be Rochester’s Own, a virtual concert featuring Rochester-area professional classical musicians of African descent in venues throughout the City. “Rochester is home to more than a few Black world-class classical musicians, and this is an opportunity to showcase as many of them as we can.” said James H. Norman, Gateways board chair.

Gateways got a taste of virtual programming in June of this year when the full Gateways Orchestra released a video performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing with more than 70 Gateways musicians from around the world. The project was a collaboration with WQXR, New York City’s classical music station, and has been viewed more than 6,000 times. “The video is exciting, and it showed us how powerful these remote collaborative performances can be,” said Koonce. (Click on this link to view the 6-minute video.)

The 2019 festival, which was held over seven days in August, was the largest in Gateways’ history. It involved 17 public programs, more than 30 community performances and 125 musicians. “We look forward to the time when we can again bring one hundred or more musicians to Rochester and resume our extensive programming in the community,” said Alexander Laing, Gateways’ clarinetist and chair of the Festival’s Artistic Programs Committee.

A detailed schedule with information about the program, musicians, guest artists and repertoire will be available in late September. All virtual events will be accessed through a specially-designed page on the Festival’s website and Facebook page.

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