WASHINGTON — Renowned violinist Robert McDuffie, Distinguished University Professor of Music and founder of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer’s Townsend School of Music, will perform with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of maestro Erich Kunzel at the annual National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 24. The concert, which will be broadcast live nationwide on PBS beginning at 8 p.m., takes place on the West Lawn of the Capitol and features a number of major artists.
The program is co-hosted by Emmy Award winner Gary Sinise (CSI: New York) and Tony Award winner Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds). The all-star lineup of dignitaries, actors and musical artists include distinguished American leader Gen. Colin L. Powell, award-winning actor/producer/director Laurence Fishburne, actress Katie Holmes, Tony Award winning Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell, singer Katherine McPhee (American Idol), and classical music superstar Lang Lang, among others. The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff are also participating in the event along with The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The U.S. Army Chorus, The Soldiers Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, The U.S. Navy Sea Chanters, the Armed Forces Color Guard and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.
More information about the event is available at www.kennedy-center.org and www.pbs.org/memorialdayconcert.
A native of Macon, McDuffie has appeared as soloist with most of the major orchestras of the world, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; the Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Utah, St. Louis, Montreal, and Toronto Symphonies; the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Minnesota Orchestras; the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; the North German Radio Orchestra; the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra; the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen; Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala; Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome; Jerusalem Symphony; Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico; Orqeustra Sinfonica de Mineria; and all of the major orchestras of Australia.
Recent appearances abroad have been at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic; in France with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquetaine; at the Philharmonie in Cologne with the Bochum Symphoniker; in Seoul with the KBS Symphony; in Taipei with the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan; in Hamburg with the Hamburg Symphony, followed by a 22-city U.S. tour; in Jerusalem with the Jerusalem Symphony; and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Besides celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Rome Chamber Music Festival last summer, McDuffie returned to the Aspen Music Festival, took part in the Brevard Music Festival, the Amelia Island Festival, played the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony in Encore Park, and performed with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineria in Mexico City.
This season is highlighted by the premiere of Concerto for Violin No. 2, The American Four Seasons, a new work by Philip Glass written for McDuffie. The World Premiere will be performed with the Toronto Symphony, the European Premiere with the London Philharmonic, and the Festival premiere in Aspen. He will record the concerto, along with the Vivaldi Four Seasons, with The Venice Baroque Orchestra for Telarc. He will return to the Cartagena, Aspen, and Amelia Island Festivals, as well as the Rome Chamber Music Festival, where he is Founder and Artistic Director.
He plays with the National Symphony Orchestra on the West Lawn of the Capitol in the annual Memorial Day Celebration, which airs live over PBS. Future plans include a U.S. tour with the Düsseldorf Symphony with Andrey Boreyko. He will tour with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, performing the Glass Concerto for Violin No. 2 and the Vivaldi Four Seasons, followed by a 35-city tour of the U.S. in the fall of 2010; a tour of Europe in the fall of 2011; and a tour of Asia in the fall of 2012. In September 2010 he will perform and record the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Houston Symphony.
McDuffie is a Grammy-nominated artist whose acclaimed Telarc and EMI recordings include the violin concertos of Mendelssohn, Bruch, Adams, Glass, Barber, Rozsa, Bernstein, William Schuman, and Viennese favorites. He plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesu violin, known as the "Ladenburg." He has been profiled on NBC's "Today," "CBS Sunday Morning," PBS's "Charlie Rose," A&E's "Breakfast with the Arts," and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
He lives in New York with his wife and two children.
About the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings
The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, a special institute within Mercer’s Townsend School of Music on the Macon campus, is a highly selective program that prepares string students for success in the real world. Students study with some of the nation’s renowned string musicians, receiving music instruction of conservatory quality, while earning an academically well-rounded education from a comprehensive, nationally recognized university. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu/mcduffie.
About Townsend School of Music
Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music and the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies in Church Music offer undergraduate and graduate professional music studies in a comprehensive university environment. The School is nationally recognized for its outstanding faculty, award-winning students, performance ensembles and state-of-the-art facilities. It is also home to the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings. Mercer University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. For more information, visit music.mercer.edu.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has approximately 7,600 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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