conducted by Peter Oundjian in a performance of the Philip Glass Violin Concerto No. 2, “The American Four Seasons” – a new masterwork composed expressly for McDuffie – on Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16. Composed in the summer and autumn of 2009, “The American Four Seasons” received its world premiere on December 9, 2009 in Toronto with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Oundjian and with McDuffie as soloist. Heralded as an "instant classic," it receives its Colorado Symphony premiere in these two performances. Beethoven's Seventh Symphony – a magnificent creation in which Beethoven displayed several technical innovations that were to have a profound influence on the music of the 19th century – is also featured on the program. Bernstein's brilliant and witty Overture to Candide opens this wonderful Masterworks weekend.
During the 2010/11 season, McDuffie completed a 30-city U.S. tour with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, pairing the Glass Four Seasons with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. He also played the Glass with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, the Düsseldorf Symphony, the Poznan Philharmonic of Poland, the Prague Philharmonia at the Prague Spring Festival, the Zürich Chamber Orchestra at the Zürich Tonhalle, and the Nashville, Louisiana and San Antonio Symphonies. McDuffie also recorded “The American Four Seasons” with the London Philharmonic and Marin Alsop on the Orange Mountain Music label.
In its April 2010 review of “The American Four Seasons,” the London Telegraph wrote, "Glass has a magical way of giving the merest twist to banality and ordinariness, which makes it interesting – the mark of classic art down the ages. As for the solo performance by Robert McDuffie, it was beyond praise, as cool, poised and heroically strong as a piece of Greek statuary."
In its review of the London Philharmonic recording, Strings magazine's Greg Cahill writes, "The orchestral score is stunning, sometimes driven by Glass’ trademark arpeggios, sometimes reserved and almost ethereal (especially the second movement), but always blending beautifully with McDuffie’s plaintive violin. The result is a magnificent work, with violinistic flourishes in the brooding final movement, that is all the more majestic for its often understated melodic moments."
“The American Four Seasons” received its U.S. premiere at the Aspen Music Festival in July 2010.
About Peter Oundjian
Canadian-born conductor and violinist
was recently appointed as music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. A tribute to his many years as a world-class chamber musician, Oundjian is renowned for his probing musicality, spirit of collaboration and engaging personality, which has earned him accolades from musicians and critics alike, as well as frequent re-engagements.
A former principal guest conductor of the Colorado Symphony, Oundjian has been an instrumental figure in the rebirth of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since his appointment as music director in 2004 – a position that was recently renewed through 2014. He served as principal guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (2006 to 2010) and has been a visiting professor at the Yale School of Music since 1981. He has also played a major role at the Caramoor International Music Festival in New York for more than a decade, currently serving as artistic advisor and principal conductor. Initially, he came to international acclaim as first violin in the Tokyo String Quartet until a repetitive stress injury drove him to take up conducting.
About Robert McDuffie
has appeared as soloist with most of the major orchestras of the world, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics;
His recent appearances abroad include Royal Festival Hall in London with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Seoul Arts Center in Korea, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, the Tonhalle Düsseldorf and the Musikhalle in Hamburg.
Future plans include a U.S. tour with the Düsseldorf Symphony and conductor, Andrey Boreyko. In addition to his appearance with the Colorado Symphony, McDuffie will play “The American Four Seasons” with the San Diego and Dallas symphonies, and abroad with the Scottish Ensemble in Glasgow and at the Belgrade Music Festival. He will tour Holland and Belgium with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and will perform the Barber Concerto with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz in Austria.
McDuffie is the founder of the Rome Chamber Music Festival. He holds the Mansfield and Genelle Jennings Distinguished University Professor Chair at Mercer University in his hometown of Macon, Georgia. McDuffie plays a 1735 Guarneri del Gesu violin known as the “Ladenburg.”
Tickets: Remaining tickets for these performances currently start at $19. Tickets are on sale now at
, the Colorado Symphony Box Office: (303) 623-7876 or (877) 292-7979 or in-person in the lobby of Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Margaret A. Williams
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The state’s only full-time professional orchestra, the Colorado Symphony embraces a tradition of musical excellence by presenting a diverse array of symphonic performances throughout the year. The Colorado Symphony presents outstanding education and outreach programs, as well as Masterworks, Pops, Holiday, Family, and the exciting new Inside the Score series that has attracted a historic level of first-time concertgoers. By presenting music that is both timeless and inspiring, while taking risks with new musical collaborations and interactive concerts, the Colorado Symphony is attracting more diverse and younger audiences than ever before. The increasing popularity of Colorado Symphony concerts as well as a strong fund-raising base not only re-affirms the artistic excellence of the orchestra, but also reflects the deep-rooted enthusiasm for symphonic music felt by so many individuals across the region. For more information about the Colorado Symphony, visit www.coloradosymphony.org.