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Thursday 21 November 2019
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Denyce Graves is Featured Performer at 26th Gateways Music Festival

Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves is scheduled to perform arias
and African-American spirituals at the 2019 Gateways Music Festival. Photo by Devon Cass

Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves headlines the 26th Gateways Music Festival, a celebration of professional musicians and composers of African descent, which runs Aug. 6-11.

In addition to classical music performances, Gateways has scheduled a four-picture film series and an after-hours session of popular and contemporary music.

Gateways is presented with Eastman School of Music, and many events are free.

“Gateways is an important part of the Eastman family,” said Jamal Rossi, the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music. “Eastman is proud of the growth of the Gateways Music Festival and grateful for the partnership between our organizations.”

Graves will sing arias from the operas Carmen and Adriana Lecouvreur, and she will perform African-American spirituals at the final concert of the festival with the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra at 4 p.m. Aug. 11 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

Other highlights include:

  • A talk by Robert Watt, retired assistant principal French horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 37 years and author of The Black Horn, a book about his life and career, followed by a musicians’ panel discussion, 3 p.m., Aug. 6 at Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music.
  • A solo recital by pianist Stewart Goodyear, 8 p.m., August 6 at Hatch Recital Hall.
  • An organ recital by Nathaniel Gumbs, director of chapel music at Yale University, noon, Aug. 8 at Third Presbyterian Church
  • A solo recital by pianist Terrence Wilson, 3 p.m., Aug. 9 at Hatch Recital Hall.
  • A performance of Florence Price’s Second Violin Concerto by Gateways’ concertmaster Kelly Hall-Tompkins, 7:30 p.m., Aug. 10 at Hochstein School of Music & Dance.
  • The return of the two-day Young Musicians Institute, begun in 2017, which provides opportunities for young Rochester-area music students to interact and perform with Gateways musicians.

Two of the films in the series are: 

  • Kinshasa Symphony – An Ode to Joy, a documentary about the everyday lives of members of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, 6:30 p.m., Aug. 7 at The Little Theatre.
  • Body and Soul, a 1920s-era silent film by African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, starring African-American singer and actor Paul Robeson and accompanied by a 16-piece chamber orchestra, at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 9 in Kilbourn Hall; and

After Hours, which starts at 10 p.m. Aug. 9 at Anthology, will feature Gateways musicians performing non-classical music, including jazz, gospel and R&B. The festival also will feature performances of solo, chamber, and orchestral works by composer Florence Beatrice Price (1887-1953). In 1933, Price became the first African-American woman to have a work performed by a major symphony orchestra (the Chicago Symphony).  A documentary about her life is part of the festival film series.

Only four of the events require tickets:

  • The Kinshasa Symphony documentary, 6:30 p.m. at The Little Theatre on Wednesday, August 7, $5;
  • Gateways Brass Collective, 7:30 p.m., at Memorial Art Gallery on Friday, August 9, $5;
  • Gateways After Hours, 10:00 p.m. at Anthology on Friday, August 9, $10;
  • Gateways Orchestra concert, 4:00 p.m. at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on Sunday, August 11, $15 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens with ID, and free for youth under 18.

For a complete list of Gateways events and ticket information, go to www.gatewaysmusicfestival.org.