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Press Releases

WQXR Presents A Quarantine Concert by the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra

June 25, 2020 | By WQXR

Programming includes performances by Florence Price, Adolphus Hailstork and Michael Abels

Featuring a companion video performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by more than 70 Gateways musicians from their homes

Airs Thursday, June 25 at 9pm on WQXR 105.9 FM and streaming online at

(New York, NY -- June 25, 2020) — Tonight at 9pm, WQXR will air a special concert performance from the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra.

The program will feature music by Adolphus Hailstork, Florence Price, and Michael Abels, as well as a unique arrangement of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," by James Cockerham (original composition by J. Rosamond Johnson) performed by the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra recorded live at the Kodak Theater in Rochester, NY. The concert is presented as part of the station’s ongoing weekly “New York in Concert” series that features concerts recorded live at New York City and regional performance venues. 

WQXR will also release a companion video featuring a performance of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" recorded by members of the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra from their homes.  

For 27 years, Gateways Music Festival’s mission has been to connect and support professional classical musicians of African descent and enlighten and inspire communities through the power of performance. Through a series of more than 50 orchestra and chamber music concerts in Rochester, NY, Gateways creates a space where black musicians are heard, affirmed, and celebrated. 

This is an extraordinary time in the history of the United States and the world,” said Lee Koonce, President & Artistic Director of Gateways Music Festival. “The musicians of Gateways expressed a strong desire to participate in this important moment and to do so in a way that was meaningful to them -- through music. From their homes in the US and some in other parts of the world, the mere image of the Gateways musicians says this music is ours, we have something important to say and we invite you to listen. We are extremely grateful to our friends at WQXR for helping to bring this project to fruition -- and we look forward to continuing our work together in the future.”

“WQXR is honored to partner with Gateways Music Festival on this project,” said Matt Abramovitz, Vice President of Programming, WQXR. “Their ongoing commitment to championing artists of African descent is a model for how to make a more equitable future for classical music. I hope this will be the first of many collaborations that will spotlight the voices that the classical world needs to hear from more.”

“New York in Concert” airs every Thursday at 9pm on WQXR 105.9 FM in New York and online at The video performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” can be viewed online at



The six-day Gateways Music Festival, held in Rochester, NY, was founded by Juilliard-trained pianist and retired Eastman School of Music faculty Armenta (Hummings) Dumisani and is a collaboration with the Eastman School of Music, houses of worship and the local community.  The Festival celebrates the participation and contributions of classically-trained musicians of African descent through more than 50 solo, chamber and orchestral performances in Kodak Hall atEastman Theatre, houses of worship, schools and other community locations throughout the city and suburbs of Rochester, New York. Over 100 musicians from around the United States and from other parts of the world participate in the Festival and perform for a diverse and multi-ethnic audience of nearly 10,000. Gateways Music Festival aims to be a multi-faceted resource primarily for classical musicians of African descent and a source of inspiration, enlightenment, and engagement for communities – especially communitie underrepresented in classical music.  For more information about Gateways Music Festival, visit


WQXR is New York City’s only all-classical music station, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life on-air at 105.9FM, online at and in the real world via live events and broadcasts. WQXR presents new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from Carnegie Hall and the New York Philharmonic, and broadcasts essential destination programs including New York Philharmonic This Week and Young Artists Showcase. WQXR is also the co-producer—along with the Metropolitan Opera—of the critically-acclaimed podcast Aria Code, hailed by The New Yorker as “illuminating …accessible…immediately pleasurable.” As a public radio station, WQXR is supported through the generosity of its members, donors and sponsors, making classical music relevant, accessible and inspiring for all.




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