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Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra - Composed by R.E.M.'s Mike Mills for Robert McDuffie, Featuring Fifth House Ensemble

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Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra
“…[Fifth House Ensemble demonstrates] conviction, authority, and finesse…” —New York Times

"...seriously beautiful, rock music...it is truly music worth hearing..." —R.E.M. HQ


Throughout his prolific 25 year concert career, violinist Robert McDuffie has been a champion of the core repertoire and an interpreter of the works of the most important popular classical composers of our time.

In the spring of 2016, in collaboration with R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, McDuffie starts a new exploration with the world premiere performance of Mills’ Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra.

Mike Mills and Robert McDuffie have been close friends since they were teenagers growing up in Macon, Georgia. Now, inspired by the blurred lines between contemporary classical audiences, pop and contemporary music, McDuffie has commissioned a new composition from R.E.M.’s Mike Mills- one of the most prolific song-writer/composer/collaborators from the world of rock and pop.

R.E.M. was formed in 1980, in Athens, Georgia, by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. One of the first popular alternative rock bands, R.E.M. gained early popular attention from its first single, "Radio Free Europe", in 1981. After three decades of record breaking CD sales, sold-out live performances in the largest rock venues in the world, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2007), R.E.M amicably disbanded in 2011. Their legacy and fan base remains very strong, demonstrated by over 4.6 million Facebook fans.

In June 2016, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by music director, Peter Oundjian, performed the world premiere of this dynamic and adventurous new violin concerto. The concerto, with orchestration and additional music by David Mallamud, featured McDuffie, performing the solo violin part, a four-member rock band, led by composer, Mills (bass and keyboard) along with two electric guitarists, and a drummer, who will perform with a string orchestra.

Fifth House Ensemble, based in Chicago, is a versatile and dynamic group defined by limitless imagination the ensemble engages curiosity to create unexpected connections with artistic collaborators and audiences of all types, breathing life into repertoire both established and emerging.

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