Students at St. Francis de Sales School recently were encouraged to work hard and to follow their hearts when they had the honor of meeting and speaking with Messrs. Richard Danielpour and Anthony McGill after a rehearsal for their Martin Luther King Day concert with Orchestra 2001.
World renowned composer and Curtis Institute faculty member Richard Danielpour was commissioned by Orchestra 2001 to write "From the Mountaintop" for the concert. The students were spell bound with his explanation of the piece and recollection of the composing process. He imagined the clarinet (played by Mr. McGill) to be a minister and the orchestra his congregation. The "minister clarinet" tells the story of Dr. King's life to the congregation. He also recalled that he worked with Maya Angelou, Andrew Young (to whom the piece is dedicated) and Toni Morrison to gather background on Dr. King's life.
Mr. McGill started playing clarinet at age 9 at the Merit School in Chicago, although he originally wanted to model himself after his older brother and play the flute. He went on to Interlouchen School for the Arts and Curtis Institute and now holds the principal clarinet position at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. A highlight of his career was playing along side Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma at the 2008 inauguration of President Obama.
Both Messrs. McGill and Danielpour had the same advice for our students: Follow your heart in what you do and work hard at it!