MIKE MILLS’ (R.E.M.) CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN, ROCK BAND AND STRING ORCHESTRA OUT NOW ON ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC
CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED PROJECT MARKS COLLABORATION WITH VIOLINIST AND LIFELONG FRIEND ROBERT MCDUFFIE
FALL U.S. TOUR DATES CONFIRMED
Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra, the new work composed by R.E.M. bassist and songwriter Mike Mills for his longtime friend and new musical collaborator, widely acclaimed violinist Robert McDuffie, is out now on Orange Mountain Music. Rolling Stone praises it as “cinematic but never schmaltzy, rock-inflected but never corny, classical but never stuffy,” while Yahoo Music calls it, “a combination of rock with classical music that combines Mills’s pop and rock instincts with the majestic sounds of an orchestra and McDuffie’s acclaimed violin-playing.”
In celebration of the release Mills and McDuffie, who have been friends since growing up together in Macon, Georgia, will be joined by Chicago’s critically hailed innovative chamber orchestra Fifth House Ensemble (15 strings) for a U.S. tour beginning on October 20 in Miami, produced by Columbia Artists Management LLC (CAMI). See below for a complete list of upcoming dates.
Of the piece Mills says, “It is a pleasure and an honor to have composed and to perform this amazing project alongside my old friend Bobby, whose imagination and encouragement got the whole thing off the ground in the first place. I can't wait to see where it takes us.”
“Mike has created a beautiful and joyful concerto,” McDuffie adds. “It’s a work that goes straight to your heart, and by the end you'll want to dance and move to the South. I’m delighted and honored (and a bit nervous!) to be making music and sharing the stage with Mike and his amazing colleagues. It’s going to be an awesome ride.”
Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra—which also includes orchestration and additional music by David Mallamud—received its world premiere in June, performed by Mills and McDuffie alongside the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The Toronto Star hailed the debut as “a winning way to introduce symphony to a new generation.” The pair then went on to perform the piece in Rome and at the Aspen Music Festival over the summer.
The recording features McDuffie performing on violin; a four-member rock band led by Mills (performing on bass, guitar and keyboard) with John Neff and William Tonks on electric guitar and Patrick Ferguson on drums (all of whom are also touring with the piece); and the McDuffie Center for Strings Ensemble conducted by Ward Stare, made up of students from the award-winning Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University.
Mills—whose father Frank sang on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and in the Naval Aviation Choir—is a founding member of ground-breaking alternative rock group R.E.M. and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He first crossed paths with McDuffie when the pair were growing up in Macon, where Mills’ parents were in the choir of the First Presbyterian Church and McDuffie’s mother was the music director.
McDuffie is a Juilliard-trained, Grammy-nominated violinist who has appeared as a soloist with numerous major internationally-acclaimed orchestras including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; the Chicago, San Francisco and National Symphonies; and the Philadelphia, Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras. McDuffie will tour throughout 2017 with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, performing the Barber Violin Concerto and Philip Glass’ American Four Seasons.
The Fifth House Ensemble has been praised by The New York Times for its “conviction, authority and finesse.” The group recently celebrated their tenth anniversary season with landmark performances of Black Violet: The Un-Natural Order, written and illustrated by Ezra Claytan Daniels; Soundings, pairing Dan Visconti’s new trio for flute, cello and piano with works by Stacy Garrop and Jennifer Higdon; Journey, an interactive arrangement of Austin Wintory’s Grammy-nominated score responsive to live game play; and Voices from the Dust Bowl, a collaboration with the bluegrass group Henhouse Prowlers.
For more information, please contact Joe Cohen, Chris Schimpf or Carla Sacks at Sacks & Co., 212.741.1000.
MIKE MILLS, ROBERT MCDUFFIE AND FIFTH HOUSE ENSEMBLE CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN, ROCK BAND AND STRING ORCHESTRA LIVE
October 20 /// Miami, FL /// Knight Concert Hall at The Adrienne Arsht Center”
October 21 /// St. Petersburg, FL /// Mahaffey Theater
October 24 /// Athens, GA /// Hodgson Hall
October 25 /// Newberry, SC /// Newberry Opera House
October 27 /// Macon, GA /// Macon City Auditorium
October 28 /// Atlanta, GA /// Emerson Concert Hall at Emory Univ.
October 29 /// Charleston, SC /// Charleston Music Hall
November 1 /// Newport News, VA /// Ferguson Center for the Arts
November 3 /// North Bethesda, MD /// Music Center at Strathmore
November 4 /// Pittsburgh, PA /// Byham Theater
November 5 /// Carmel, IN /// Palladium Center for the Arts
November 6 /// Detroit, MI /// Music Hall
November 7 /// Chicago, IL /// Harris Theatre