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Emotional spontaneity, imperturbable virtuosity and an ever-sweet tone. Los Angeles Times
The first performance of the work – Violin Concerto No. 2, "The American Four Seasons" – was so spectacularly played by the new piece's muse, American violinist Robert McDuffie, at Roy Thomson Hall Wednesday night, that the event turned into one of the most exciting musical evenings of the year. Toronto Star
In some ways, the addition of [Robert] McDuffie might have been the night's biggest delight because the extent of his playing was unexpected. The internationally renowned violinist - a Macon native who has performed with nearly every major orchestra in existence - almost caused the grown men in the crowd to weep with his visceral playing. Whether duetting with Leavell on the latter's "Southscape" or soloing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, McDuffie mesmerized. Atlanta Journal Constitution, Celebrating Georgia with Chuck Leavell and Greg Allman at Atlanta Symphony Hall
Grammy nominated violinist Robert McDuffie enjoys a dynamic and multi-faceted career. While appearing as soloist with the world's foremost orchestras, he can also be found sharing the stage with Gregg Allman and Chuck Leavell in "Midnight Rider," with actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith in Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail," or playing Bach for Memphis Jook dancer Li'l Buck. Philip Glass dedicated his second violin concerto, "The American Four Seasons," to McDuffie. Mike Mills of the iconic band R.E.M. is currently composing a concerto for violin and . . . rock band for him. Robert McDuffie is the founder of both the Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy and The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in his native city of Macon, Georgia.
Robert 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, National, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, St. Louis, Montreal, and Toronto Symphonies, the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Minnesota Orchestras, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the North German Radio Orchestra, the Düsseldorf Symphony, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Hamburg Symphony, Bruckner Orchestra Linz, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineria, and all of the major orchestras of Australia.
His recent appearances abroad have been at the Royal Festival Hall in London with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Seoul and Daejeon Arts Centers in Korea, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, the Tonhalle Düsseldorf, the Brucknerhaus in Linz, the Musikhalle and the Staatsoper in Hamburg and at the National Theater in Santo Domingo.
He gave the World Premiere of Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No. 2, The American Four Seasons with the Toronto Symphony. McDuffie completed a 30-city U.S. tour with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, pairing the Glass Four Seasons with the Vivaldi Four Seasons. He has also played the Glass with the National Symphony of Mexico, the Düsseldorf Symphony, the Hamburg Ballet, the Nashville, Louisiana, San Diego, Dallas, San Antonio, and Colorado Symphonies, the Poznan Philharmonic of Poland, the Prague Philharmonia at the Prague Spring Festival, with the Scottish Ensemble in Glasgow, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta in Holland and Belgium, at the Belgrade Music Festival, at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado, and, paired with the Vivaldi Four Seasons, with the Zürich Chamber Orchestra at the Zürich Tonhalle, at the St. Christopher Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, and with the Israel Chamber Orchestra in Tel Aviv.
Robert McDuffie recorded The American Four Seasons with the London Philharmonic and Marin Alsop on Philip Glass' Orange Mountain Music label. His acclaimed Telarc and EMI recordings include the violin concertos of Mendelssohn, Bruch, Adams, Glass, Barber, Rozsa, Bernstein, William Schuman, and Viennese violin favorites. 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 has recently performed The American Four Seasons with the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Ensemble in New York City at (Le) Poisson Rouge and returned to Hamburg for additional performances with the Hamburg Ballet. Future plans include additional appearances with actor/playwright Anna Deavere Smith, a return to Korea and his annual visit to the Aspen Music Festival. He will perform with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic. On June 19, 2016 he will perform the world premiere of Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and Orchestra with the Toronto Symphony. In 2017 he will tour the U.S. with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, alternating the Barber Violin Concerto with the Glass American Four Seasons. The tour will begin at Carnegie Hall on Philip Glass' 80th birthday, January 31, 2017, with a performance of the American Four Seasons.
As founder of the Rome Chamber Music Festival, Robert McDuffie has been awarded the prestigious Premio Simpatia by the Mayor of Rome in recognition of his contribution to the city’s cultural life. He served for 10 years on the board of directors of the Harlem School of the Arts in New York City where he was chairman of the artistic and education committee. Mr. McDuffie holds the Mansfield and Genelle Jennings Distinguished University Professor Chair at Mercer University in his native city of Macon, Georgia. He plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesu violin, known as the "Ladenburg"; this instrument is owned by a limited partnership formed by McDuffie. Robert McDuffie lives in New York City.
Robert McDuffie, Biography Critical Acclaim US Premiere Review of 'The American Four Seasons' (Philip Glass), Aspen, July 24, 2010 Critical Acclaim from The Seasons Project Tour 2008: Critical Acclaim from McDuffie's U.S. Tour with Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra Robert McDuffie, 14-15 Schedule Details
- Excerpts from Concerto for Violin & Rock Band Robert McDuffie & Mike Mills
- Rome Chamber Festival 2010
- Rozsa: Violin Concerto; III. Allegro Vivace