theGrio’s 100: Anthony McGill and Demarre McGill, brothers making it big in classical music

Who are Anthony McGill and Demarre McGill?

Anthony McGill and Demarre McGill are brothers who, although born and raised on Chicago’s tough South Side, have both achieved stellar levels of success in the world of classical music. While Anthony currently serves as the principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York City, his older brother Demarre serves as principle flute of the Seattle Symphony. Both brothers have famously played as members of prominent orchestras across America, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and New Jersey Symphony between them. They got their start as part of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Why are they on theGrio’s 100?

As major stars in the world of classical music, the achievements of Anthony McGill and Demarre McGill are mind-blowing. Anthony, “was a winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and in March of 2012 was one of the first three artists to receive the Sphinx Organization’s Medal of Excellence, which were presented at the U.S. Supreme Court,” according to his web site.

Demarre, a 2003 winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, also holds a Masters of Music degree from the Juilliard School. These brothers are the only siblings to ever win the Avery Fisher grant.

Anthony also performed the piece “Air and Simple Gifts” by John Williams during the 2009 inauguration of President Obama with classical music superstars Yo-Yo Ma (cell0), Itzhak Perlman (violin) and Gabriela Montero (piano).

Part of a tiny cadre of African-American musicians holding principal positions in major orchestras, these men are ambassadors of classical music exposing new audiences to this centuries-old tradition.

What’s next for the McGill brothers?

Their various pursuits include teaching at prestigious schools of music, performing around the world, collaborating with leading classical artists, and working with organizations that promote classical music.

Follow Anthony McGill on Twitter at @mcgillab