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 Mr. McDuffie. Mike Mills of the band R.E.M. is currently composing a concerto for violin and rock band for him.
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, Montreal, and Toronto Symphonies; the Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Minnesota Orchestras; the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the North German Radio Orchestra, the Düsseldorf Symphony, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, the Hamburg Symphony, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, 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 Tonhalle Düsseldorf, the Brucknerhaus in Linz, the Musikhalle and the Staatsoper in Hamburg, and at the National Theater in Santo Domingo.
Mr. McDuffie gave the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No.2, ‘The American Four Seasons’ with the Toronto Symphony. He has also 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, Rózsa, Bernstein and William Schuman.
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 in his native city of Macon, Georgia. He plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesù violin, known as the ‘Ladenburg’, owned by a limited partnership formed by Mr. McDuffie. Robert McDuffie lives in New York City with his wife, Camille and children Eliza and Will.