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Gateways Music Festival Receives $1.2M Grant from the Bay & Paul Foundations

From the Community: A Gateways Music Festival, Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester Announcement

The Gateways Orchestra | Photo Credit: Matt Wittmeyer. Photo from https://www.gatewaysmusicfestival.org/press-room.

Gateways Music Festival recently received a $1.2M grant from the New York City-based Bay & Paul Foundations. 

The Bay & Paul Foundations has been a Gateways supporter since 2019, was a lead sponsor of the Gateways Orchestra’s Carnegie Hall debut in April 2022.  The grant is the largest single grant in the Festival’s nearly 30-year history and will support ongoing and expanded programs along with other strategic initiatives, according to Gateways officials.

“We are extremely grateful to the Bay & Paul Foundations for this extraordinary show of support for Gateways’ important mission and efforts.  The grant is a testament to the hard work of countless Rochester-based volunteers over the years, the extraordinary musicianship and commitment of our Gateways musicians, and the vision of our founder Armenta Hummings Dumisani,” said Lee Koonce, Gateways’ President & Artistic Director.

The most recent Gateways Music Festival took place in April 2022 in both Rochester and New York City and featured seven days of performances, panel discussions, lectures, film showings and more before a live audience of nearly 7,000 and a live radio audience of more than 100,000.  The Festival culminated in a sold-out performance of the Gateways Orchestra at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, the first all-Black classical symphony orchestra presented by that esteemed venue in its 130-year history. 

Gateways Music Festival connects and supports professional classical musicians of African descent, enlightening and inspiring 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.

“This generous gift from the Bay & Paul Foundations is evidence of how much Gateways has accomplished and a vote of confidence in our future,” said chair of Gateways’ board of directors, Kearstin Piper Brown. “We view the 2022 Carnegie Hall debut as a launching pad for our nationwide touring and expanded year-round live and online programming in the coming months and years.”

Brown says the support from Bay & Paul will help Gateways achieve the bright future they envision and expand support of Black classical musicians.

The next Gateways Music Festival will again take place in Rochester and New York City from October 16 through October 22, 2023.  The Festival looks forward to sharing more details, including the schedule and artist lineup, in the new year.

“The Bay & Paul Foundations take great pleasure in enthusiastically making this grant at a critical time of unprecedented opportunities for Gateways,” said

Marilyn Resnick, chair of the Foundations’ board of directors said the Foundation . “This investment is made in recognition of Gateways’ singular historical role in the classical music realm, both within and outside the Black community.  We are confident that the new initiatives supported by this grant will enable Gateways to continue building on its rich history and more fully realize its vision of connecting and supporting professional classical musicians of African descent and enlightening and inspiring communities through the power of performance.”

Photo from https://www.esm.rochester.edu/news/2021/06/gateways-music-festival-orchestra-announces-carnegie-hall-debut-as-part-of-spring-2022-festival/.

The next Gateways Music Festival will again take place in Rochester and New York City from October 16 through October 22, 2023.  The Festival looks forward to sharing more details, including the schedule and artist lineup, in the new year.

In 2016, while remaining an independent non-profit organization, Gateways formalized its long-time relationship with Eastman and the University of Rochester.

Further information about the organization can be found at www.gatewaysmusicfestival.org.