Violinist Robert McDuffie plays for Stratford students

(Photo by KENZIE MUENZER, Gazebo Staff)


By CARLY WANNA, Gazebo Editor

Violinist Robert McDuffie has played as a soloist with  the New York Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineria and all of the major orchestras of Australia.On Thursday morning, he added Stratford Academy to the list of venues.

The Grammy nominee performed several songs during an assembly at the Henry Tift Fine Arts Auditorium.  Having once attended First Presbyterian Day School,  the musician made light of the age-old rivalry between the two schools.

“It was a tough decision because you know I went to FPD,” McDuffie said, laughing.  “I had to pray about it…”

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(Photo by MAGGIE THORNSBERRY, Gazebo Staff)

He came at the invitation of Stratford Head of School,  Dr. Bob Veto, who also serves as president of the Macon Symphony’s board of directors.


McDuffie established the center and has served as a professor since 2004.  The conservatory trains 26 students and competes with brand  name conservatories in the United States.  The program also offer courses in business in law in addition to music to produce well-rounded musicians prepared for the real world.

Before plucking out his final piece, a tune orchestrated by George Gershwin, McDuffie took a moment to make a statement on racial issues.  He commented that the auditorium was majority white and that many of the private schools in Macon were established to avoid integration of schools.

(Photo by KENZIE MUENZER, Gazebo Staff)

After the concert, he further commented on the matter.  “The racial problems are national problems, but I believe that Macon has the infrastructure to take the lead in dealing with the issues here,” said McDuffie.

McDuffie practiced violin for years, studying at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City.  He acknowledged the difficulties of pursuing a career in the arts, especially with regards to the financial aspect.  

“It’s all about the passion, and if they feel they can’t live without it, then  they should do everything in their power to try to at least get to a point that they have a shot at achieving their goals,” said McDuffie.

McDuffie will perform on Saturday night at the Grand Opera House in Macon. “What Color is Your Brother? An Evening of Music and Spoken Word” is a free, ticketed event at 7:30 p.m.