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Learning and music performance experiences featuring New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill come to Madison on April 4

Posted: 03/27/23

Learning and music performance experiences featuring New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill come to Madison on April 4

New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill will perform with students of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Symphony Orchestra (UWSO) during a Wisconsin Union Theater Concert Series event on April 4 at 7:30 p.m. CST in Madison, Wisconsin, at the Hamel Music Center and in an online broadcast. 

The program will include McGill and UWSO performing “Première Rhapsodie” by Debussy and Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 73 by Carl Maria von Weber as well as UWSO performing Symphony No. 1 by Gustav Mahler. 

Patrons can purchase tickets to attend the concert in person or virtually online, by phone at (608) 265-2787 or at the Memorial Union Box Office. Wisconsin Union members, patrons under the age of 18, and University of Wisconsin–Madison students, staff and faculty can purchase discounted Wisconsin Union Theater tickets.

Patrons with tickets to go to the concert in person can also attend a pre-concert talk about Mahler's Symphony No. 1 with Mahler Society of Chicago President James Zychowicz, Ph.D., at the Hamel Music Center on April 4 at 6:45 p.m. McGill will not be in attendance at the pre-concert talk. 

McGill grew up on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. From picking up the clarinet in the 4th grade to performing around the world, McGill wanted to be a musician at a young age and is now living that dream. 

In an interview with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, he recalled a time in his early teens when he performed in Japan with a youth symphony orchestra and feeling the energy of the stage and performing to the audience. He describes the experience as life changing. 

He honed his music skills at the Merit School of Music, the Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen Arts Camp, and the Curtis Institute of Music. In addition to his role in the New York Philharmonic, he performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He also performed at the inauguration of former President Barack Obama with violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Gabriela Montero. McGill is the first Black artist to hold a principal position in the New York Philharmonic.

He has earned a reputation for delivering expressive, brilliant and rich performances coupled with pristine technique. 

McGill’s time in Madison includes two opportunities of a lifetime for University of Wisconsin–Madison students; before the 7:30 p.m. performance, students from the Mead Witter School of Music will participate in a studio class at noon on April 4 in the Hamel Music Center. 

During the studio class, UWSO students will perform orchestral audition excerpts in front of McGill and members of the public. The public, including those without concert tickets, can attend the studio class for free on a first-come, first-served basis. 

“He’s probably one of the first famous clarinetists I learned about as a high school student,” said Gretchen Hill, a second-year University of Wisconsin–Madison graduate student studying clarinet performance, in a Wisconsin Union Theater blog story

At the class, McGill will share advice on how the students can enhance their performances. In an interview with the United States Air Force Band, McGill described helping the next generation of musicians as his greatest inspiration.

“I mean, it doesn’t seem possible for this to be happening,” Hill said. “You have these clarinet idols, and they’re kind of like the Harry Styles of clarinet playing, so you don’t really expect to meet anyone this famous in real life. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a really young clarinetist.”

Additional Wisconsin Union Theater 2022-23 season events include performances by the Danish String Quartet on April 18 and Samara Joy on May 4.

Patrons can visit the Wisconsin Union Theater website to learn more about the McGill and UWSO performance and free studio class. 

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