Commemorating over 20 years of partnership, violinist Robert McDuffie and pianist Robert Spano jubilantly take the stage to celebrate the work of Beethoven, Brahms and legendary American contemporary composer, John Corigliano. Spano is excited to step off the podium and sit down at the piano following his transformative 20 year tenure as music director at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Both performers have profoundly advocated for American music in concert halls throughout their careers, and are thrilled to continue their passion for contemporary, romantic, and classical music alike together on this one of a kind recital tour.
Grammy-nominated violinist, Robert McDuffie, enjoys a dynamic and multi-faceted career. While appearing as soloist with the world’s foremost orchestras, he has also shared the stage with Chuck Leavell and the late Gregg Allman in Midnight Rider and with actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. Philip Glass dedicated his Second Violin Concerto, The American Four Seasons, to Mr. McDuffie. Mike Mills of the iconic band R.E.M. has composed a 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. Mr. McDuffie holds the Robert McDuffie Violin Faculty Chair at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Robert McDuffie has appeared as soloist with most of the major orchestras of the world. He gave the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No. 2, The American Four Seasons with the Toronto Symphony and completed a thirty-city U.S. tour with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, pairing the Glass Four Seasons with the Vivaldi Four Seasons. The Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra was also premiered with the Toronto Symphony, followed by performances at the Rome Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and a three-week tour of the U.S.
Robert McDuffie recorded The American Four Seasons with the London Philharmonic and Marin Alsop on Philip Glass’ Orange Mountain Music label. The Mike Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra is also on the 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 Wall Street Journal.
In 2017, he toured the U.S. with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, alternating the Barber Violin Concerto with the Glass Violin Concerto No.1. He returned to the Aspen Music Festival. Recent performances include first appearances in Auckland, New Zealand; the Orchestre National de Lille; the Bernstein Serenade with the Atlanta, Hawaii, and Virginia Symphonies; the Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra with the Naples and Buffalo Symphonies; and the Glass Four Seasons along with the Mills Concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony.
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 is also the founder of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in his hometown of Macon, Georgia, where he holds the Genelle and Mansfield Jennings Distinguished University Professor Chair. He plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesù violin, known as the “Ladenburg”. The instrument is owned by a limited partnership formed by Mr. McDuffie. He lives in New York City.
Robert Spano, conductor, pianist, composer, and teacher, is known worldwide for the intensity of his artistry and distinctive communicative abilities, creating a sense of inclusion and warmth among musicians and audiences that is unique among American orchestras. Beginning his 18th season as Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, this highly imaginative conductor is an approachable artist with the innate ability to share his enthusiasm for music with an entire community and concert hall. A fervent mentor to rising artists, he is responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous celebrated composers, conductors, and performers. As Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School since 2011, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students and rising artists. Highlights of the 2018-2019 season include Mr. Spano’s Metropolitan Opera debut, leading the US premiere of Marnie, the second opera by American composer Nico Muhly, with Isabel Leonard. With the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, programs include the Music Director’s quintessentially rich, diverse pairings of contemporary works and cherished classics, welcoming seasoned guest artists and many new faces.