Gateways Music Festival, in association with Eastman School of Music, has received a substantial award of $800,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Announced by Gateways Music Festival, the news is very welcome to the 28-year-old organization, which works to connect and support professional classical musicians of African descent. As well as assisting Gateways’ ongoing growth and development, the grant will help support its historic Carnegie Hall debut on April 24, 2022, when the Gateways Orchestra will become the first all-Black classical symphony orchestra to be presented by Carnegie Hall in the venue’s 130-year history.
Expressing gratitude on behalf of the festival, Gateways’ Board Chair Kearstin Piper Brown says:
“This award is a powerful confirmation of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s belief in Gateways’ unique mission, and it acknowledges our importance in today’s classical music ecosystem. The lack of Black classical musicians on American concert stages is concerning for all of us, and Gateways is proud to provide a supportive and affirming artistic home for our musicians, enabling them to continue to thrive in their careers.”
The Gateways Music Festival will dedicate its Carnegie Hall debut to its long-time music director and conductor Michael Morgan, who died on August 20, 2021. He was 63. Mr. Morgan was one of the rare Black conductors to rise to prominence, with guest appearances leading the top orchestras of St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, New York and San Francisco during a career that spanned 40 years.