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Categories: ARTS & CULTURE, Celebrating - The Blog, MUSIC

McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University will host Labor Day Festival early September



July 6, 2023—The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia is excited to host their annual Labor Day Festival on September 1-4. Open to a total of eight rising high school seniors (four violinists, two violists and two cellists), the Labor Day Festival is an intensive, hands-on three-day workshop with Center for Strings faculty.

The workshop program is free for accepted participants to attend, who only need to pay for their travel to and from Mercer University. All other expenses during the workshop are covered. The application deadline is July 15, apply HERE.

Participants take part in master classes, coachings and rehearsals as they prepare for the festival’s closing concert, when they will perform string quartets as well as play with the Center String Ensemble. This year’s festival will feature master classes with Center for Strings founder Robert McDuffie, Emerson Quartet violist Lawrence Dutton, Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim, and internationally acclaimed cellist and Center alumnus Sihao He, plus will offer a preview of the David Kim Orchestral Institute (DKOI), which will become part of the curriculum for violinists at the McDuffie Center for Strings this upcoming school year.

“The Labor Day Festival is a wonderful peek into the inner workings of the McDuffie Center for these talented high school seniors,” notes Center for Strings Director Amy Schwartz Moretti. “The interaction between our faculty and students with the invited individuals creates this unique experience, culminating in a very festive concert for the community. Now to be adding the orchestral element of the DKOI to the weekend and our Center puts it over the top! How fortunate we are to offer this opportunity!”

David Kim adds, “I am so very excited for the 2023 McDuffie Center for Strings Labor Day Festival, made even more compelling this year with the addition of the David Kim Orchestral Institute (DKOI) preview session.”

After just 10 years of graduates matriculating into the professional ranks of classical music, McDuffie Center students have gone on to join top symphony orchestras around the world, including first violin with the Berlin Philharmonic, principal bass with the Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester in Sweden, and principal violin with the San Francisco Symphony, as well as positions with the St. Louis and Phoenix orchestras. A number of alumni are performing exciting new music with up-and-coming chamber groups (Collectif9, Ivala Quartet, Invoke), while others have used their entrepreneurial training to create their own music nonprofits (Hawaii Chamber Music Festival, Nashville Chamber Music Society).


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 headed by director Amy Schwartz Moretti 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, visit or call (478) 301-2748.


Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. With more than 9,000 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges, on major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at regional academic centers in Henry and Douglas counties, Mercer is ranked among the top tier of national research universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Mercer Health Sciences Center includes the University’s School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions and Pharmacy. Mercer is affiliated with five teaching hospitals—Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; The Medical Center, Navicent Health, and Coliseum Medical Centers in Macon; and Midtown Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The University also has an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in Warner Robins. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is one of only 286 institutions nationwide to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society; one of eight institutions to hold membership in the Georgia Research Alliance; and the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program.

For more information, please contact
Joe Cohen or Carla Sacks at Sacks & Co., 212.741.1000, or

Photos taken by Chris Smith.