2022 MAC Music Innovator Antoine T. Clark
to Conduct the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
in a Program Highlighting Black Culture in Music

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CINCINNATI, OH (May 12, 2022)— The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) 2022 MAC Music Innovator Antoine T. Clark will lead the CSO in a concert highlighting the importance of Black culture in music through themes of folk music, spirituality and social justice. The concert will take place on June 11, 2022 at 7 p.m. at Word of Deliverance Ministries and will feature cellist Denielle Wilson, a 2019-2021 Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Diversity Fellow, and Kaylaa Betts, a spoken word artist from Elementz Cincinnati’s premiere hip-hop cultural arts center.

The concert will trace the three themes through five works. The program opens with Symphony No. 9, From the New World Symphony by Antonín Dvoƙák, which includes folk melodies influenced by Indigenous American music and African American spirituals, and Ameri’can by James Lee III, which adds elements of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) spirituality and faith. Then, audiences will hear breathe/burn: an elegy by Joel Thompson, which centers on heightened emotions and disruptions of grief during the pandemic as told through the lens of social injustice. Written in memory of Breonna Taylor, breathe/burn: an elegy will feature cellist Denielle Wilson. The final works, Florence Price’s Adoration and “Amen” by Carlos Simon, share the important role that faith plays in the Black American experience.

“Audience-goers will experience a multicultural landscape of music,” said Clark. “Classical music is truly barrier-less and speaks to all. My hope is that people leave the concert transformed.”

The concert is a culmination of Clark’s season long MAC Music Innovator residency with the CSO, which focuses on uplifting the voices of underrepresented groups in classical music. As part of his residency, Clark visited Winton Woods High School to guest conduct the school orchestra and spent time working with students at MyCincinnati, an ensemble-based youth development organization that provides free music education to students in Price Hill. This summer, Clark will also lead a workshop with the CSO’s Nouveau Program where he will coach parents on ways to support young musicians of color. On Tuesday, June 7 at 7 p.m., he will also participate in an event with Cincinnati Pops Conductor John Morris Russell to discuss the life of conductors. The event will take place at Church of Our Savior in Mt. Auburn and is free and open to the public.

“Antoine is a role model for young musicians, and his drive to transform the classical music experience for people of color is impressive,” said Jonathan Martin, President and CEO of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. “We are grateful for Antoine’s musicianship and forward-looking perspective, and we know his work with the Greater Cincinnati region will have a lasting impact beyond the scope of this residency.”

Clark is the fifth MAC Music Innovator since the program’s inception in 2018. Previous MAC Music Innovators include violinist Kelly Hall-Thompkins (2018), pianist Michelle Cann (2019), drummer and composer Mark Lomax (2020), and pianist and composer William Menefield (2021). The MAC Music Innovator residency program is supported by the CSO’s Multicultural Awareness Council (MAC) and serves to amplify African American classical musicians who embody artistry, innovation and a commitment to community engagement and education.


The 2022 MAC Music Innovator concert is free and open to the public. Tickets must be reserved in advance by visiting cincinnatisymphony.org or by calling the Box Office at 513.381.3300, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Compelling interpretations, inventive performances and an energetic stage presence are the hallmarks of American conductor Antoine T. Clark. The founding Artistic and Music Director of The McConnell Arts

Center Chamber Orchestra in Ohio, now in its ninth season, Mr. Clark was also named Assistant Conductor of West Virginia’s Wheeling Symphony Orchestra in fall 2021. A passionate advocate of arts education, in November 2021, he was named Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s 2022 MAC Music Innovator, a program which highlights leading African American classical musicians who embody artistry, innovation and commitment to education and community engagement.

Highlights of the 2021-2022 season include Mr. Clark’s conducting debut with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, leading the Philharmonia NOYO (Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra) and the OWU Chamber Orchestra, in addition to his duties with Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, The McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra and the MAC Music Innovator program.

With a focus on building strong relationships in communities, Mr. Clark creates bold programs that often include innovative collaborations with artists from various artistic disciplines. A passionate supporter of new music, Mr. Clark regularly commissions works for the symphonic and chamber music canon. Among the composers with which he has worked are Mark Lomax III, Jacob Reed, Matthew Saunders, Michael Rene Torres, Christopher Weait, and Tony Zilincik.

Committed to inspiring and nurturing the next generation of musicians, Mr. Clark has taught students ranging from young beginners to college music majors. He is currently the conductor and music director of the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra – Philharmonia Orchestra and music director of the Ohio Wesleyan University Chamber Orchestra, and has served as the assistant conductor at the Gateways Music Festival in association with the Eastman School of Music since 2017.

Antoine T. Clark holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in clarinet performance from The Ohio State University, a Masters from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and a Bachelors from Virginia Commonwealth University. A Project Inclusion Conducting Freeman Fellow with the Chicago Sinfonietta, among his mentors are conductors Mei-Ann Chen, Michael Morgan, Markand Thakar, Michael Jinbo, and Marshall Haddock.