The Memphis Symphony Masterworks presentation "From Gandolfi to Memphis" is special for a few reasons. It's the world premiere of Fourth Chickasaw Variations, a commissioned work by composer Michael Gandolfi, honoring the MSO's 60th anniversary. It's also a kind of homecoming for guest artist Anthony McGill, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra clarinet player, who's joining the MSO for William Bolcom's Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra. McGill was born and raised in Chicago, but his father is from Mississippi, and he spent many summer vacations in Memphis visiting family. "But this is my first chance to play there," McGill says. He had a few other things to say too.
Memphis Flyer: The Bolcom piece is uncommonly smooth.
Anthony McGill: He uses a lot of styles in his work. Some of it sounds jazzy, some of it sounds contemporary and kind of Latin in a way. It has a lot of different colors and uses the clarinet in many ways. It brings out all the characteristics of the instrument.
The second movement is nice.
It is. Americana, with the lyrical singing of the clarinet. I like the piece, and I'm glad I get to do it in Memphis.
You played President Obama's 2009 inauguration. It has to feel good when the commander-in-chief calls.
It was actually Yo-Yo Ma who invited me to play the concert.
It has to be nice when Yo-Yo Ma calls too.
Yeah. Yes, it is.
From Gandolfi to Memphis at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, Saturday, April 13th, 7:30 p.m. Encore performance at Germantown Performing Arts Centre, Sunday, April 14th, 2:30 p.m. Tickets: memphissymphony.org