McDuffie Center Faculty Artists and Student Musicians Headline 10th Annual Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy


MACON, Ga. – Distinguished faculty artists and student musicians of Mercer University's Robert McDuffie Center for Strings are headlining the 10th annual Rome Chamber Music Festival in Rome, Italy, which opened on June 9 and continues through June 13. A cadre of musicians, faculty, McDuffie Center patrons, and University officials traveled to Rome for the event that was founded by Center for Strings founder, internationally renowned violinist Robert McDuffie. The five-day festival features concerts that are held in the Gran Salone Pietro da Cortona in the Palazzo Barberini, which was completed in 1633 and also houses the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, an art collection that includes works by Raphael and Caravaggio, among others.

“McDuffie Center faculty and student artists have mesmerized the audiences the past two evenings,” said Dr. C. David Keith, dean of Mercer's Townsend School of Music. “What a thrill it is for our young artist students in the Center for Strings to have this opportunity to perform on the international stage.The entire Mercer community has every right to be proud of the outstanding contribution these young artists are making in music and the arts.”

Distinguished faculty artists who will perform include: McDuffie, violin; Center Director and Caroline Paul King Chair Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin; Lawrence Dutton, viola; Julie Albers, cello; and Elizabeth Pridgen, piano; with Center student musicians Jessica Fellows, Haerim Lee, Rochelle Sumampong and Jecoliah Wang, violin; Emily Brandenburg and Jessica Pickersgill,viola; and Riana Anthony and Sihao He, cello. The programs include works by Baroso, Beethoven, Brahms, de Moraes, Foote, Glass, Jobim, Mendelssohn, Mendonça and Schubert.

Founded in 2003, the Rome Chamber Music Festival is endorsed by the Embassies of the United States of America to Italy and to the Holy See, as well as the City of Rome and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs. “I came to Rome on sabbatical in the fall of 2002,” said McDuffie. “I discovered a true passion for the world's most beautiful city, and it was then that I started dreaming of inviting the world's greatest musicians to perform in the spectacular and historical venues that can be found in the Eternal City. The Festival includes at least one work of an American composer each year, but its identity adheres to a true international ideal by inviting musicians from all over the world.”

After six years of sold out performances at the Gonfalone Oratory, the festival made its debut at the prestigious Palazzo Barberini in 2012. The 17th century Palazzo, designed by the great Baroque artists Maderno, Borromini and Bernini, is located on the Quirinal Hill, the tallest of Rome's famed seven hills. Concerts are held in the Palazzo Barberini's splendid Gran Salone under Pietro da Cortona's exquisite ceiling fresco, The Triumph of Divine Providence, painted in 1642. The sumptuous surroundings, combined with exceptional acoustics, make it an inviting space for chamber music in Rome.

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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.