Robert McDuffie Biography
Emmy Award-winning violinist Robert McDuffie enjoys a dynamic and multifaceted career. While appearing as soloist with renowned orchestras on five continents, he has also shared the stage with eclectic musicians such as R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills and Rolling Stones pianist Chuck Leavell. Philip Glass dedicated his Violin Concerto No. 2, The American Four Seasons to Mr. McDuffie and he has performed it more than 100 times around the world. Mike Mills composed Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and Orchestra for him. This year, he received an Emmy award for A Night of Georgia Music with Mike Mills, Chuck Leavell, rock band and the McDuffie Center for Strings ensemble, which is currently airing on PBS stations across America. Mr. 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.
He recently completed a U.S. tour performing Brahms’ Violin Concerto with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, including a critically acclaimed performance at Carnegie Hall. He has also appeared as soloist with most of the premier 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 London and Czech Philharmonics; Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, North German Radio Orchestra, Düsseldorf Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Hamburg Symphony, Bruckner Orchestra Linz, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and all of the major orchestras of Australia.
Mr. McDuffie has a wide-ranging discography and his recent release, Icons, with pianist Elizabeth Pridgen, features sonatas of Philip Glass and John Corigliano as well as John Adams' Road Movies. His acclaimed Telarc, Orange Mountain, and EMI recordings include the violin concertos of Mendelssohn, Bruch, Adams, Glass, Mills, Barber, Rózsa, Bernstein, William Schuman, and Viennese violin favorites. He has been profiled on NBC’s Today, CBS’s Sunday Morning, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
He has been awarded several honors in Italy: the Premio Simpatia by the Mayor of Rome; the Medaglia Ufficiale della Camera dei Deputati and the Medaglia Speciale del Natale di Roma recognizing the Rome Chamber Music Festival’s 20th anniversary; and the Premio delle Muse in Florence. Mr. McDuffie 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. He plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesù violin, known as the “Ladenburg.” This instrument is owned by a limited partnership formed by Mr. McDuffie.