Robert McDuffie

Artistic Director


Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie enjoys a dynamic and multifaceted 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 Lil Buck. Philip Glass dedicated his Second Violin Concerto, “The American Four Seasons,” to Mr. McDuffie. Mike Mills of the iconic band R.E.M. composed his Concerto for Violin, Rock Band, and String Orchestra 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, and Minnesota Orchestras; the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, North German Radio Orchestra, Düsseldorf Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Hamburg Symphony, Bruckner Orchestra Linz, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineria, Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra; and all of the major orchestras of Australia.

Recently Mr. McDuffie’s has appeared abroad 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 the National Theater in Santo Domingo.

Mr. McDuffie gave the world premiere of Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto No. 2, “The American Four Seasons,” with the Toronto Symphony. He completed a thirty-city U.S. tour with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, pairing the Glass Four Seasons with the Vivaldi Four Seasons. He also paired the two works with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, at the St. Christopher Festival in Vilnius (Lithuania) and the Israel Chamber Orchestra in Tel Aviv. He has played the Glass with the Nashville, Louisiana, San Diego, Dallas, San Antonio, and Colorado Symphonies; with the National Symphony of Mexico, Düsseldorf Symphony, Hamburg Ballet, Poznan Philharmonic, Prague Philarmonia at the Prague Spring Festival, Scottish Ensemble in Glasgow, and Amsterdam Sinfonietta in Holland and Belgium; and at the Belgrade and Aspen Music Festivals. He 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.

The world premiere of Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and Orchestra with the Toronto Symphony was followed by performances of the Mills Concerto at the Rome Chamber Music Festival and Aspen Music Festival and a three-week U.S. tour in the fall of 2016. Last season he toured the U.S. with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, alternating the Barber Violin Concerto with the Glass Violin Concerto No.1, as well as returning to the Aspen Music Festival for his annual visit. His schedule also includes his first appearances in Auckland, New Zealand, a return to Korea, and further performances with Anna Deavere Smith.
Robert McDuffie recorded The American Four Seasons with the London Philharmonic and Marin Alsop as well as Mike Mills’s Concerto for Violin, Rock Band, and String Orchestra on Philip Glass’s Orange Mountain Music label. His acclaimed Telarc and EMI recordings include the violin concertos of Mendelssohn, Bruch, Adams, Glass, Barber, Rózsa, 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.

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 ten 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. He plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesù violin, known as the “Ladenburg,” owned by a limited partnership formed by Mr. McDuffie.
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.