Meet Robert McDuffie

By Henry C. Mayer

Louisville has hosted most of the world's finest violinists during this century. Just recently, one of them returned and scored a singular triumph that will be long remembered. This writer will keep his conversation with him as a unique page in his book of memory.

Who is he? Meet Robert McDuffie, a native of Macon, Georgia who began an assiduous study of music at a very early age. His mother, who took a vital part in the music of her church, quickly and accurately saw her son's gift for making music. So off he went to Julliard, where he excelled; he demonstrated such promise that one of his teachers took pains to introduce him to the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin one of the most talented violinists of our time. Maestro Menuhin was enchanted and convinced; he opened a number of doors of opportunity to the young man from Macon.

One of the greatest compliments a composer can pay to a performing artist is to invite him or her to perform his music. Mr. McDuffie has been so honored by Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, David Diamond, Wllliam Schuman, Lou Harrison, John Adams and thrice by Gian Carlo Menotti. One of the latter took place in Milan's LaScala Opera House.

McDuffie has been a soloist with some of the world's superb orchestras and most demanding conductors. He has earned renown, both for his gifted interpretations of traditional violin literature and his unfailing enthusiasm, interest and heartfelt desire to discover and champion the more significant contemporary works. He has been widely acclaimed for his singular promotion of works by American composers.

Louisville Music News asked him if he ever thought of composing music himself. 'No, I never have." This writer has received this answer from a number of performing artists and he thinks such a reply is indicative of both humility and dedication. Next time, one goes to a concert and experiences this behavior, it is worth a second thought or two.

At Kentucky Opera, Good Things Come in Three

By Henry C. Mayer

The Kentucky Opera's upcoming season will embrace a new century and another millennium. General Director Deborah Sandler has tastefully arranged the schedule in groups of three: the number of operas, season tickets and single performance tickets each with three prices.

Mark down these three dates" June 1, 2 and 3. Opera lovers will have their choice of a luncheon at Vincenzo's, starting at 12:10/ For only $10, there will be Italian cuisine and beautiful music from next season's operas: Puccini's Le Boheme, Floyd's Susannah, and Johann Strauss Die Fledermaus. Four highly talented young singers, trained at the University of Kentucky, make up carefully chosen previews of what can be heard next season right here in Louisville: Angelique Clay; soprano, Jonathan Burton, tenor; Dawn Coon, mezzo-soprano and Kirk Eichelberger, bass. Each has already performed on the stage and it's certainly likely that there will be greater things to come.

Some seats are still available for each of these dates. When calling for reservations, be sure to indicate which luncheon date you want. Due to the popularity of these Lunch and Listen programs, only credit card reservations are accepted and all reservations are final.

Ms. Sandler also stressed that there are many additional benefits attached to a subscription to the new season, including a subscription to Ovations, the Opera's newsletter.

Single performance tickets sales don't begin until September 13. For questions and assistance, call either 502-584-4500 or 1-800-690-9236.