Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

  • Clarinetist AnthonyMcGill, pianist Inon Barnatan, and cellist Alisa Weilerstein perform on stage.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s
Front Row: National
Anthony McGill, clarinetist

7:30 pm Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Front Row: National virtual concert collection features beautifully shot, full-length HD performance videos from the society’s archive, curated by organization Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han.

The series was created to provide a new way for audiences to experience chamber music in a meaningful and innovative way—from the virtual “front row,” in the comfort and safety of listeners’ homes.

This episode of the recorded digital series features performances highlighting the immense talents of Anthony McGill. The clarinetist, who appeared on our Meeting the Moment with Michael Mwenso webcast in February, is the first African-American principal in the history of the New York Philharmonic.

McGill performs works by two twentieth-century composers, Olivier Messiaen and Francis Poulenc, plus a composition by nineteenth-century Romantic Johannes Brahms.

In addition to introducing the program, Finckel and Han interview McGill during the video’s intermission. 

The program:

Messiaen: “Abyss of the Birds,” a clarinet-only piece from Quartet for the End of Time for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano
Poulenc: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
(featuring Gloria Chien, pianist)
Brahms: Trio in A minor for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, Op. 114
(featuring Alisa Weilerstein, cellist, and Inon Barnatan, pianist)

Download program notes.

Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound, and rich character” (The New York Times), McGill is one of classical music’s most recognizable and brilliantly multifaceted figures. 

He performed with violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and pianist Gabriela Montero at the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. In 2020, he earned the Avery Fisher Prize, one of classical music’s most significant awards. 

In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, McGill launched a musical protest video urging people to take two knees in demonstration against the death of Floyd and historic racial injustice. Hundreds of artists and citizens amplified the message and responded to the protest with their own videos using the hashtag #TakeTwoKnees.

The clarinetist performed as part of a trio with Barnatan and Weilerstein in a 2017 concert at Penn State’s Schwab Auditorium.

Finckel and Han previously performed at the Center for the Performing Arts as a duo in 2005, and with violinist Philip Setzer in 2017 and 2018 for the Beethoven Piano Trios. Finckel also performed at Penn State as a member of Emerson String Quartet in 1990, 2002, and 2009.

Watch the event beginning at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21. It will be available for streaming until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 28.


How to Watch

The performance will be streamed on this page for free. When streaming becomes available, a "Watch" button will appear. 

The program run time is approximately 1 hour and 6 minutes.

2020–2021 Up Close and Virtual season sponsors


Contributions from the members of the Center for the Performing Arts and a grant from the University Park Student Fee Board help make this program free of charge.

Help us continue to provide free streaming programs with a donation of $5 or more. Or join as a member starting at $60 and receive benefits.


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