Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

State Botanical Garden to host world-renowned violinist and Mercer’s string orchestra

Athens, Ga. – Students and faculty from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon will perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in the State Botanical Garden of Georgia’s Visitor Center and Conservatory at the University of Georgia April 25.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception in the Gardenside Room. The concert is free to the public; however, seating is limited. Advanced tickets may be reserved by calling 706/542-6014.

Highlighting the evening will be Robert McDuffie, a Grammy-nominated violinist who founded the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and serves as distinguished university professor of music at Mercer University. McDuffie has appeared as soloist with most of the major orchestras of the world, including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, and all of the major orchestras of Australia. 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 Wall Street Journal.

Performing on the harpsichord, Elizabeth Pridgen, the G. Leslie Fabian piano chair in music at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, has distinguished herself as a soloist and chamber musician and has appeared as soloist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Rome Symphony Orchestra and DeKalb Symphony Orchestra. She performs regularly at festivals, including the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival; the Rome Chamber Festival in Rome, Italy; the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colo.; and the Madison Chamber Music Festival in Madison.

In addition, the evening will feature the gifted students from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings.

Founded as a special institute within Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music, the McDuffie Center for Strings is a highly selective program that prepares string students for success in the real world. Enrollment is limited to 12 violinists, six violists, six cellists and two double bassists.

The Botanic Musicale concert is part of a series created in honor of Neva Langley Fickling, whose talent as a pianist helped her become the only Miss Georgia to wear the Miss America crown. Fickling has performed as a guest soloist with the Macon, Atlanta, Utah and Benevento, Italy Symphony Orchestras and has given numerous recitals.