‘To live a full life, you need to fully experience music and art’ – clarinettist Anthony McGill

12 March 2021, 09:38 | Updated: 12 March 2021, 18:17

‘To live a full life, you needed to fully experience music and art’ – clarinettist Anthony McGill
‘To live a full life, you needed to fully experience music and art’ – clarinettist Anthony McGill. Picture: Stephanie Berger, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

By Rosie Pentreath

The US clarinettist meets art with music in this stunning performance of works by Coleridge-Taylor, Hailstork and Danielpour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“I grew up in a household where music and art were a part of everyday life,” US clarinettist Anthony McGill wrote in the programme for a recent performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

“It was how you went through the world. Creating, appreciating, and learning without hesitation. We were taught that to live a full life you needed to fully experience music and art.”

McGill was performing a programme of works with the Catalyst Quartet – Karla Donehew Perez and Abi Fayette on violin, Paul Laraia on the viola and Karlos Rodriguez playing cello – in an online event called ‘Cadence: The Sounds of Justice, the Sounds of a Movement’.

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The concert, filmed in the Met’s Gallery 915, featured Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Clarinet Quintet (watch above) and Adolphus Hailstork’s Three Smiles for Tracey, as well as the world premiere of a new work by Richard Danielpour.

The programme was inspired by McGill’s family migration from the Deep South of America to Chicago, and by paintings by Kerry James Marshall and others in The Met’s collection.

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“Art is life. Music is life. Music and art live inside of us,” McGill writes of the concert.

“2020 was a year in which I thought a lot about what it means to be a musician. As we begin 2021, I’d like to continue to expand the capacity for art and music to reach more people and change the world for the better.”

Anthony McGill performs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Anthony McGill performs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Picture: Stephanie Berger, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“We live in a world of separation and segregation. I desire to live in a world where there is no more separation, segregation, or injustice and where art and music unite us.”

Dedicating the concert to artists and educators throughout the world, McGill added: “Art is a necessity, a value and a gift that everyone should be allowed to experience.”

Enjoyed hearing Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s music? Click here to vote for Coleridge-Taylor in the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2021.