South Side Musician an Inaugural Player

Chatham's Anthony McGill part of inaugural quartet

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009  |  Updated 5:00 PM CDT
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South Sider Anthony McGill was part of an inaugural quartet Tuesday, playing a new piece by John Williams.

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South Side Musician an Inaugural Player

29-year-old Anthony McGill, a South Sider like Obama, performed during Tuesday's inaugural ceremonies.
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Chicago's South Side has been the incubator for our city's particular brand of blues, rhythm and blues and gospel music, as well as the longtime home of president-elect Barack Obama.

But just before Obama took the oath of office Tuesday, another son of the South Side took the spotlight in a different style of music during the inauguration ceremonies.

Anthony McGill -- raised in the Chatham neighborhood and, at age 29, principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra -- appeared as part of a quartet that includes cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Gabriela Montero. They played a short piece written for the ceremony by John Williams, composer of dozens of film scores ranging from "E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial" to "Star Wars.'"

The inauguration's musical lineup also included Aretha Franklin, the U.S. Army Marine Band, children's choruses from San Francisco and a contingent from the U.S. Navy Band.

Wynne Delacoma, the Sun-Times' classical music critic from 1991 to 2006, profiles McGill on SunTimes.com.

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