Violinist McDuffie to premiere new Glass concerto

Posted on: December 9, 2009

In Wednesday’s (12/9) Ottawa Citizen (Ontario), Steven Mazey writes, “He had to wait seven years, but violinist Robert McDuffie finally has the music he dreamed of when he asked American composer Philip Glass if he would write a piece for him inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Glass liked the idea when McDuffie pitched it in 2002, but warned it could take him a while to get to it. He wasn’t kidding. … Glass got around to McDuffie’s request this summer, and his Violin Concerto No. 2, subtitled The American Four Seasons, will have its world premiere with the Toronto Symphony at Roy Thomson Hall tonight. The second performance will be in Ottawa Thursday, when the orchestra, McDuffie and conductor Peter Oundjian visit the National Arts Centre. … McDuffie says the idea for the new concerto stemmed partly from similarities he noticed between Glass and Vivaldi, including the use of sweet melodies atop insistently repeated lower rhythms. … He asked Glass to use the same instrumentation that Vivaldi used (solo violin and strings), but with the synthesizer in place of the harpsichord. McDuffie also asked for the final movement to ‘rock at the end, and it really does.”

Posted December 9, 2009