Classical 91.5

Gateways Music Festival

Ensemble HD

It’s a snapshot of the Gateways Music Festival from Kodak Hall, on Performance Today.  I’m Fred Child and I was delighted to enjoy so many performances, and meet many of the musicians of the Gateways Music Festival on my first trip to Rochester.  I’ll be sharing highlights from the festival and conversations with some of the artists in a special presentation of Performance Today, Tuesday at 2pm, here on Classical 91.5.


The Gateways Music Festival is in full swing and musicians from all over the world have flocked to Rochester to be a part of the classical music festival.

The Gateways Music Festival is not only coming back next week, but there are big plans to grow it. The festival, which begins August 8, celebrates diversity in classical music.

We talk with Lee Koonce, president and artistic director of the Gateways Music Festival, about the events and how to bring more diversity to the classical music scene. He also shares his musical journey.

Pianist Stewart Goodyear in a row of piano frames
photo by Andrew Garn

For the first time ever, Backstage Pass is taking its show on the road, and you're invited! 

In celebration of the Gateways Music Festival, Julia Figueras hosts Backstage Pass live from Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre with the entire GMF orchestra, guest artists, and a live audience.  Music Director Michael Morgan, RPO trumpeter Herb Smith, pianist Stewart Goodyear, and violinist Amadi Azikiwe are among the guests who will chat with Julia, along with GMF President and Artistic Director Lee Koonce and Eastman School of Music Dean Jamal Rossi.


Photo: AfriClassical

Meet Lee Koonce.   He's the first full-time, paid director of a festival that exists to support and encourage diversity in America's classical concert halls.  In this Democrat and Chronicle article by Jeff Spevak, Koonce describes a vision.

“We need a million black and Latino kids playing the violin,” he says. “And another million playing the cello. Two million, even.”