2020 Taketwoknees

Arts, Media

Orchestras Featured on NPR

The Northwest School’s Upper School Orchestra and Advanced Middle School Orchestra were featured in a National Public Radio segment about the #TakeTwoKnees movement spreading throughout the classical music social media world. Anthony McGill, a Black clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic, started the movement by playing a rendition of “America the Beautiful,” and dropping to his knees at the end of the video, as though he is being handcuffed.

Seventy-five students comprised of the two Northwest orchestras and students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, the Annapolis Symphony Academy, and the Antigua & Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra performed the hymn from Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius. The song was written in 1899 as a direct response Russia’s stifling rule over Finland.

Says Director of Orchestras Jo Nardolillo: “We specifically chose the song because it is a beautiful piece of classical music that was born out of a moment in which an oppressive regime says your voices do not matter and your lives do not matter.”

Anthony specifically chose the Finlandia performance for inclusion in the NPR segment, calling it “a beautiful tribute to #TakeTwoKnees.” Click here to listen to the whole segment.