Gateways Music Festival celebrates musicians of African descent

Classical musicians of African descent will come together for the 2017 Gateways Music Festival in Rochester this August. The festival, which runs from 8-13 August, celebrates the important role musicians of African heritage have played, and continue to play, in the genre.

In total, more than 120 musicians will take part in 50-plus solo, chamber and orchestral concerts. Featured musicians include pianist Stewart Goodyear and violinist Jessie Montgomery. The festival is spread across venues such as the Hochstein School of Music & Dance, Rochester City Hall, Rochester Public Library, Corn Hill Landing and the Eastman Theatre.

“We are excited to welcome many guests to Rochester who, first, want to hear great music played at a world-class level; and ­second, want to celebrate the centuries-long participation and achievements of classical musicians of African descent,” said festival president and artistic director Lee Koonce.

In addition to the musicians, composers of African descent feature heavily in the programme with pieces by Joseph Bologne, Adolphus Hailstork and Jessie Montgomery.

Beyond the concert hall, attendees can enjoy a panel discussion led by festival musicians on 8 August and a pre-concert talk by Dr Paul Burgett, an international expert on African-American music, on 12 August.

Gateways was founded in 1993 by concert pianist Armenta Adams Dumisani. It moved from its original home in Winston-Salem to Rochester in 1994.