Robert McDuffie performs with MCS

Robert McDuffie, founder of the McDuffie Center for Strings (MCS), collaborated with MCS faculty and students to deliver a packed concert Saturday, Feb. 9 in Fickling Hall.
He played three pieces, two of which featured the Director of the Center, Amy Schwartz Moretti. Other faculty members Rebecca Albers and Elizabeth Pridgen joined in the final piece, “Piano Quintet in E flat major: Op. 44 by Robert Schumann.”
Almost every seat was filled, including general admission seats on the stage behind the performers. Audience members praised the performance with shouts of affirmation and thundering applause.
McDuffie is a world-renowned violinist having performed with dozens of various orchestras and symphonies. He has been nominated for a Grammy, and recorded numerous performances.
According to dean of the Towsend School of Music, Dr. David Keith, the Center was the result of McDuffie’s “vision to build a center for strings in which students would have conservatory level playing, but also in a liberal arts environment.”
Keith went on to say that McDuffie is such an asset to the students’ educations because he is known internationally as one of the great violinists. “Consequently, he has many, many contacts with orchestral people, especially string players, who are very happy to recommend Mercer and the Center for Strings because they are aware of the quality of instruction,” said Keith.
The Center for Strings recently received a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation to renovate the Bell House on College Street as the new home for the Center. It will contain practice spaces and a performance area. The performance area will be used for student chamber music and recitals.
MCS ensemble members also played alongside McDuffie. Junior violist Jessica Pickersgill from Victoria, British Columbia, described McDuffie as “intense in a really good way.”
“You feel like you’re working with someone who knows what they’re doing, but you still have fun and learn a lot,” said Pickersgill.
McDuffie’s passion for his skill is evident through his fluid moves and expressive face.
Dr. Keith said McDuffie will continue to be the “visionary” leading and guiding the Center for Strings in the future.
Another development for the Center was their debut in New York City at Le Poisson Rouge on February 4. Jessica Pickersgill said that the experience was an unforgettable one.
Consisting of just 26 students, the McDuffie Center for Strings includes some of the most talented students from around the world. Not only that, but with a remarkable faculty and director, it is only appropriate that they are led by such a renowned musician like Robert Mcduffie.
Being just one of the Fabian Concert Series, there will be another concert at the Cox Capital Theatre on Feb. 26 featuring Robert McDuffie, Amy Schwartz Moretti and MCS ensemble members.