McDuffie Center Students Win One Quarter of Finalist Spots in National Competition


MACON – Three students from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University's Townsend School of Music were selected as finalists in the American String Teachers Association national solo competition. Violinist Shin Jung Lee and cellists Riana Anthony and SiHao He were selected from string students from throughout the country. Mercer is the only institution to have three finalists in the 12-member Senior String division. Other schools represented include the University of North Texas with two finalists; and Curtis Institute, Juilliard, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin College, New England Conservatory, and Yale University with one finalist each. The finalist from the Curtis Institute participated in the Robert McDuffie Labor Day Festival for Strings and is a former student of Center for Strings Director and violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti.

“I think it's extraordinary that our students are achieving this kind of recognition,” said Moretti, who holds the Caroline Paul King Violin Chair at Mercer. “It is always meaningful to be acknowledged like this by fellow musicians who are aware of the work and dedication necessary to achieve a great performance, but it is even more so because our program is only six years old.”

Founded more than 60 years ago, the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) is the premier membership organization for the strings community. Members include K12, university, and private studio teachers as well as orchestra directors, administrators, performers, students, and many other string enthusiasts.

“We are all very proud of the work that these students are doing,” said Dr. C. David Keith, dean of Townsend. “I know that they will well represent the Center for Strings and Mercer in the finals.”

The final round of the National Solo Competition will be held in New York City, April 6-8 at the Kauffman Center's Merkin Hall. For more information about the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and Townsend School of Music please visit or call (478) 301-5751.

About Townsend School of Music
Mercer University's Townsend School of Music, the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies offer undergraduate and graduate professional music studies in a comprehensive university environment. Townsend is nationally recognized for its outstanding faculty, award-winning students, performance ensembles and state-of-the-art facilities. The McDuffie Center, a special institute within Townsend School of Music, is a highly selective program that prepares string students for success in the real world. Students study with some of America's most renowned string musicians, receiving music instruction of conservatory quality, while earning an academically well-rounded education from a comprehensive, nationally recognized university. For more information and a complete listing of this season's concerts please visit or call (478) 301-5751.