2020 Avery Fisher Prize: Anthony McGill

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Avery Fisher was a wise and caring philanthropist and lifelong lover of classical music whose philosophy was to give back to the world what music had given to him. In 1974, Mr. Fisher established Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Artist Program, which includes the Avery Fisher Prize (established 1975) and Avery Fisher Career Grants (established 1976). The Avery Fisher Artist Program is committed to all forms of diversity, and award recipients for the Prize and Career Grants are chosen based on outstanding musical merit. Artists do not apply directly for these awards and have no idea they are even under consideration.

The Avery Fisher Prize is awarded in recognition of musicians who represent the highest level of excellence and whose vision and leadership have expanded the reach of classical music. There is no age limit, and recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. A commemorative plaque in the lobby of David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall) celebrates all who have received the Prize, which as of 2017 carries a monetary award of $100,000. Prize recipients are chosen by the Avery Fisher Artist Program’s Executive Committee.

‘Citizen Musician’ Anthony McGill, clarinetist, was awarded the 2020 Avery Fisher Prize. The announcement ceremony was livestreamed on this page and is available on demand.

Hailed for his “trademark brilliance, penetrating sound and rich character“ (The New York Times), Anthony McGill enjoys an active international solo and chamber music career. He serves as the principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic as its first African American principal player, and on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, and Bard College Conservatory of Music. He is an advocate for social justice and music education in underrepresented groups.