Robert McDuffie & McDuffie Center for Strings Ensemble Robert McDuffie & McDuffie Center for Strings Ensemble

with Ward Stare, conductor, Elizabeth Pridgen, piano, Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin & music of John Adams, Elliot Goldenthal, and Béla Bartók

Mon February 9th, 2015


Main Space

Minimum Age: All Ages

Doors Open: 6:30PM

Show Time: 7:30PM

Event Ticket: $15

event description event description

Robert McDuffie, violin and founder
MCS Ensemble
Ward Stare, conductor
Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin
Elizabeth Pridgen, piano
John Adams: Road Movies (1995)
Elliot Goldenthal: Lyric Suite, world premiere (2015)
Béla Bartók: Divertimento for Strings (1939)

Table seating for all seated shows is reserved exclusively for ticket holders who purchase “Table Seating” tickets. By purchasing a “Table Seating” ticket you agree to also purchase a minimum of two food and/or beverage items per person. Table seating is first come, first seated. Please arrive early for the best choice of available seats. Seating begins when doors open. Tables are communal so you may be seated with other patrons. We do not take table reservations.
A standing room area is available by the bar for all guests who purchase “Standing Room” tickets. Food and beverage can be purchased at the bar but there is no minimum purchase required in this area.
All tickets sales are final. No refund or credits.

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Robert McDuffie & McDuffie Center for Strings Ensemble

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 a return engagement at Le Poisson Rouge, additional appearances with actor/playwright Anna Deavere Smith, and a return to Korea. He will perform with the Toronto Symphony (March 12, 2016 – world premiere of Mills Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and Orchestra), Royal Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Philharmonic. He will play the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Beethovenhalle Orchestra of Bonn on tour in the United States.
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 official site

Ward Stare, conductor

American-born conductor Ward Stare has been described as “one of the hottest young conductors in America” by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and “a rising star in the conducting firmament” by the Chicago Tribune. Recently appointed Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Mr. Stare opens their 2014/15 season at Kodak Hall with a special RPO Philharmonics concert featuring guest soloist Midori. His current season includes a number of highly-anticipated debuts with orchestras around the world, including performances with the Baltimore Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, and the New World Symphony. He returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago in November to lead performances of Porgy and Bess.
Mr. Stare’s frequent collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago began with his debut in 2012 conducting performances of Hansel and Gretel. He returned to Chicago in 2013 to lead Die Fledermaus, for which Opera News praised his “piquantly effervescent concoction of Strauss’s exquisite score.” Mr. Stare led the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra and Chorus in 2013 for his Millennium Park debut with sopranos Ana María Martínez and Albina Shagimuratova, tenor James Valenti, and bass-baritone Evan Boyer for LOC’s annual “Stars of Lyric Opera” concert. Following his critically acclaimed debut with the Opera Theater of St. Louis in 2013 conducting Il Tabarro andPagliacci, Mr. Stare returned to OTSL the next season for performances of Dialogues of the Carmelites. He made his debut with the Washington National Opera conducting Donizetti’s comic opera L’elisir d’amore in 2014.
Equally active on the concert stage, Mr. Stare served as the Resident Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2012. In 2009 he made his highly successful Carnegie Hall debut with the orchestra, stepping in at the last minute for Music Director David Robertson who performed the role of chansonnier in H. K. Gruber’s Frankenstein!!. The 2013-14 season saw his return to the Atlanta and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, as well as his debuts with the Syracuse Symphoria, the Jacksonville Symphony, and the Naples Philharmonic with Lang Lang as soloist. Other recent engagements include the Houston, Québec, and Dallas Symphonies, as well as numerous engagements with the Saint Louis Symphony where he served as a regular guest conductor on the orchestra’s 2012-13 Family, Special Event and Subscription series.
In August 2007, Mr. Stare made his critically acclaimed debut with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Center, The PlainDealer praising his “clear and vibrant performance and keen ear for phrasing, balance and pacing.” Mr. Stare has appeared with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Bangkok Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival and the DITTO Festival in South Korea, and has also led the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in multiple engagements.
Highlights of recent seasons include being named ‘Musician of the Month’ by Musical America in November of 2011 and an invitation to participate in the prestigious Allianz Cultural Foundation’s 2012 International Conductors’ Academy. Over the course of four months, Mr. Stare worked intensively with both the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia culminating in Stare’s debut with the LPO in Royal Festival Hall in April of 2012. The 2010-11 season included Mr. Stare’s debut with the Norwegian National Opera in a new production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. Critics praised Stare, the cast and orchestra for a“finely tuned [and] magical” production that “radiated musical quality.”
Stare was the recipient of both the Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize (2006) and the Aspen Conducting Prize (2007) at the Aspen Music Festival before spending the 2007-08 season as a League of American Orchestras Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Stare has studied conducting with David Zinman, János Fürst and Jorma Panula, and worked with Michel Merlet in composition and musical analysis.
Following in the path of many great orchestral conductors whose careers began as instrumentalists, Stare was trained as a trombonist at the Juilliard School in Manhattan. At the age of 18, he was appointed principal trombonist of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and has performed as an orchestral musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, among others. As a soloist, he has concertized in both the U.S. and Europe.
Ward Stare official site
Photo credit: Devon Cass

Elizabeth Pridgen, piano

Praised for her “big piano presence” (American Record Guide), Elizabeth Pridgen has distinguished herself as a soloist and chamber musician. Recent concerts include appearances at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, the Tilles Center on Long Island, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, and the “Rising Stars Series” at the Ravinia Festival. Ms. Pridgen has also performed at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and the Kosciuszko Foundation, and in recitals in Washington D.C., Aruba, Curaçao, and throughout the Southeast. She has appeared as soloist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Rome Symphony Orchestra, and Dekalb Symphony Orchestra. For seven consecutive seasons she has been a featured performer at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival.
This summer, in addition to Amelia Island, she will be performing at the Rome Chamber Festival in Rome, Italy, the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and the Madison Chamber Music Festival in Madison, Georgia. Ms. Pridgen collaborates regularly with Elmar Oliveira, Robert McDuffie, Andres Diaz, the Diaz String Trio, and the American String Quartet. She has also performed with Lynn Harrell, Hilary Hahn, Sarah Chang, Rachel Barton Pine, and Mark O’Connor. Ms. Pridgen is a member of Trio RPM with violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti, Director of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, and Christopher Rex, Principal Cellist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Pridgen is a Distinguished Artist and Piano Chair at the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University.
Ms. Pridgen received her Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School where she studied with Joseph Kalichstein. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music as a student of Ann Schein. Other teachers include Claude Frank, Pamela Frank, Leon Fleisher, and Ursula Oppens. Ms. Pridgen spent two summers at the Tanglewood Music Center where she was awarded the piano prize and selected to perform with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and the Mark Morris Dance Group at Jacob’s Pillow. She has also been a participant at the Aspen Music Festival, International Musicians’ Seminar in Prussia Cove, England, and the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Ms. Pridgen currently resides in New York City.
Elizabeth Pridgen official site

Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin

music of John Adams, Elliot Goldenthal, and Béla Bartók

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