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Take 5: McGill/McHale Trio
This edition of Take 5 features an interview with Anthony McGill and Michael McHale of the McGill/McHale Trio. The trio was founded in September 2014 when clarinetist Anthony McGill and his brother, flutist Demarre McGill, were featured artists in a residency at Bowling Green University in Ohio. While there, pianist Michael McHale joined them in concert for the first time, and it was immediately clear that the trio would have a great future making music together. The ensemble makes its recording debut with “Portraits — Works for Flute, Clarinet & Piano,” featuring world-premiere recordings of new compositions and arrangements for this captivating combination of instruments. The “title track,” Valerie Coleman’s “Portraits of Langston,” is a six-movement suite inspired by Langston Hughes’s poetry. Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) reads a Hughes poem before each movement. “Portraits” is currently available for pre-order; all downloads & CDs ship August 11.
What is your most recent project and what sparked your interest in it?
Anthony: This CD is my most recent project and one that I’m very proud of. I’m excited that it is being released soon.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
Michael: A scientist. Any profession that involves constant new challenges and discovery would be very rewarding (also, my dad is a scientist so I would have some guidance too!).
Was there a formative moment for you as an artist?
Michael: When I was still a student in London, I was invited by my fellow Irish pianist Barry Douglas to perform Mozart’s two-piano concerto with him several times, which was a really formative and inspiring musical experience quite early in my career, and Barry has continued to be very supportive ever since.
What album/band are you listening to right now?
Anthony: I just discovered Dermot Kennedy and I like Bon Iver a lot right now. I listen to lots of different artists and many a day, so day-to-day it changes.
What makes the Chicago classical music scene unique?
Anthony: I think Chicago is a very special music community. I was lucky to grow up there. It feels like everyone knows each other in the musical community. I was mentored and nurtured by this community and am still supported by the family there. This CD is a testament to that connection and the nurturing the Chicago musical community gave us and still provides for us.
In celebration of her upcoming release with Third Coast Percussion and Sérgio Assad, we’re featuring the vibrant music of Clarice Assad