BHM Spotlight: McGill Brothers Make Musical History (Video)

McGill brothers, Demarre and Anthony, make musical history through the nation's orchestras.

When a child realizes their passion at a young age and has it supported it makes for a magical outcome.

The McGill brothers, Demarre and Anthony, are living proof of that magic. They hail from the South side of Chicago, ironically known for its horrific crimes but also its musical superstars like Common, Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson and now the McGill Brothers.

The brothers started their careers with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, but since then, they have played in orchestras all over the country.  That accomplishment is rare indeed with only four percent of the nation’s orchestras consisting of African Americans or Latinos.  Now Anthony McGill serves as the principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York City and older brother Demarre serves as principle flute of the Seattle Symphony, according to the Grio.  But beyond their impressive positions, they have an incredible list of musical accomplishments that got them there:

  • 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;
  • 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).

Their parents Ira, a retired teacher, and dad Demarre, a retired fire fighter, were completely invested in their son’s passion for music from day one.  They even mortgaged their home five times to ensure that their dreams come true.

Check out their amazing story.  Hats off to the McGill family!

-J.C. Brooks

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