The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
One of Macon's finest musical treasures in the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, a special institute within the Townsend School of Music at Mercer University. This highly selective program prepares string students for success in the real world as they study with some of America's most renowned string musicians. In years past, the McDuffie Center has held a Labor Day festival as a recruitment tool to introduce top high school string students to the center's conservatory program. This year, the festival has been replaced by an exciting, free concert for the community dubbed "McDuffie Loves Macon."
“We’re incredibly excited,” said Center founder McDuffie, who thought it would take at least 10 years to realize the growth from six students in 2007, to its goal of 26. “Now, we only have slots for a few new students each year, and we are known for having some of the top teachers from throughout the world.”
The concert will be held Thursday, August 30 at 7 p.m. at The Grand Opera House. Featured artists include Macon native Robert McDuffie, violin; Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin; David Halen, violin; Rebecca Albers, viola; Julie Albers, cello; Kurt Muroki, double bass; Elizabeth Pridgen, piano; Steve Moretti, percussion; and the McDuffie Center String Ensemble. The one hour event is free and open to the public.
The shift from a recruitment-focused festival to a single, free concert for the community is a testament to the growth and stature of the McDuffie Center.
“I knew the Center was going to be something great, so in a way it doesn't surprise me where we are now,” said Schwartz Moretti, distinguished violinist and director of the Center since its inception. “But in another way it is truly mind-blowing how quickly we have become a highly sought-after string program.”
"Bring your family and experience the finest young talent in the country playing their hearts out in a program of American favorites,” said McDuffie. This opportunity for students to perform with professionals is a hallmark of the Center and another reason string students from around the world are taking notice.