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Gateway Music Festival Celebrating 25 Years of Classical Music

Trail Blazer Award Recipient -Armenta Hummings Dumisani and Inspiration Award Recipient – Paul J. Burgett

The Gateways Music Festival, an event aimed at connecting and supporting professional classical musicians of African descent, is celebrating its 25th anniversary October 30 through November 4.

The anniversary celebration will continue in August 2019 with the full Festival, featuring performances by professional classical musicians of African descent from throughout the United States.

“Gateways Music Festival is an extraordinary celebration. It is a celebration of the power of music to touch our souls and move our spirits, and of tremendously talented musicians of African descent coming together to make marvelous music. Eastman is proud to be a partner with Gateways Music Festival in this wonderful endeavor,” said Jamal Rossi, Dean at Eastman School of Music.

An anniversary celebration highlight will be the five-day Community Residency Program, featuring a series of 20 chamber music performances by Gateways musicians in public schools, recreation centers, community music programs, libraries and other community venues throughout the Rochester area.

During the Community Residency Program, Gateways musicians will also reconnect with students from the Young Musicians Institute, which was inaugurated during the 2017 Gateways Music Festival. Forty-three students from the Rochester City School District performed with Gateways musicians during the 2017 Institute.

“A 25th anniversary is an occasion to celebrate for any organization,” said Lee Koonce, President & Artistic Director of Gateways Music Festival. “We’re celebrating great music, world-class musicians, and the extraordinary community support that has sustained Gateways over these past many years.  Having Gateways musicians connecting with our community through music seems an especially fitting way to celebrate.”

Concluding the six-day celebration will be a 25th Anniversary Gala Luncheon Celebration at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, November 4, on the stage of Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

Three special awards will be presented during the luncheon. The awards and their recipients are:
* Rising Star Award: Violinist Caitlin Edwards, who participated in her first Gateways Music Festival in 2017, is a graduate student at DePaul University’s School of Music in Chicago, Illinois.  Ms. Edwards was the unanimous choice of the members of the Gateways Artistic Programs Committee because of her superb musicianship and musicality.
* Inspiration Award: Paul J. Burgett, an Eastman School of Music graduate and a member of the Gateways board of directors since 1995 and chairman from 2015 until his passing in August of this year, will posthumously receive the award for his indefatigable spirt and passion for the mission of Gateways.
* Trail Blazer Award: Armenta Hummings Dumisani, who founded Gateways in 1993 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A Juilliard-trained concert pianist, the now-retired Ms. Dumisani brought the festival to Rochester when she joined the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in 1994.