WHRO FM is proud to highlight the work of Black composers and performers in classical music, during Black History Month and all year round. This month, we’ll introduce a new 13-week series, airing Friday evenings at 9 p.m. beginning on February 3. Gateways Radio, a collaboration between The WFMT Radio Network and WXXI FM in Rochester, NY, celebrates the performances, artists, and artistry of the Gateways Music Festival.

The Gateways Music Festival Orchestra is a 125+ member ensemble of musicians of African descent under the leadership of conductor Anthony Parnther. The Orchestra made its stunning Carnegie Hall debut on April 24, 2022 as the first all-Black orchestra to be presented by the famed venue. Gateways Radio features exceptional compositions and exquisite performances, celebrating the Gateways Music Festival’s mission of connecting and supporting classical musicians of African descent and serving as a source of inspiration, enlightenment, and engagement for communities—especially communities underrepresented in classical music.

In its debut radio season, Gateways Radio features works by James V. Cockerham, William Grant Still, William Levi Dawson, Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Adolphus Hailstork, Carlos Simon, arrangements of traditional spirituals by Harry T. Burleigh, Hall Johnson, and more. Performers include pianists Armenta Hummings Dumisani and Althea Waites, saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Thomas Walsh, clarinetists Alexander Laing and Anthony McGill, the Imani Winds, Catalyst Quartet, Harlem Quartet, and the Gateways Orchestra with performances under the baton of Gateways’ late music director Michael Morgan.

Host Garrett McQueen has been a member of several professional orchestras and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bassoon performance. He serves on the board of the American Composers Forum and maintains leadership and advisory positions with the Black Opera Alliance, the Gateways Music Festival, and the Lakes Area Music Festival. Away from the airwaves, McQueen offers music and racial equity presentations with past collaborators including the Sphinx Organization, the Kennedy Center, the Apollo Theater, the Minnesota Music Teachers Association, and countless schools, colleges, and universities.

Tune in for Gateways Radio Friday evenings on WHRO FM!