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R.E.M.’s Mike Mills to Release First Classical Work, ‘Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra’

Photo credit: Roger Idenden
Photo credit: Roger Idenden

On Oct. 14, Mike Mills, the former bassist of R.E.M., will release Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra, a classical piece he composed with violinist Robert McDuffie, a childhood friend from their hometown of Macon, Ga. The duo also announced a brief tour of concert halls for the fall.

The recording features Mills on bass and keyboards, with two electric guitarists, a drummer, McDuffie on violin and the McDuffie Center for Strings Ensemble, which is based out of Macon’s Mercer University. The piece was arranged by David Mallamud.

“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,” Mills said in a press release. “I can’t wait to see where it takes us.”

“Mike has created a beautiful and joyful concerto,” McDuffie gushed. “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.”

The piece received its world premiere back in June in Toronto, and will make its U.S. debut tonight (Aug. 11) at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colo. In October, Mills and McDuffie will take the piece on the road with the Fifth House Ensemble, a 15-string chamber orchestra from Chicago. You can see the dates below.

Mike Mills and Robert McDuffie, ‘Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra’ Tour Dates

10/20 — Miami, Fla.
10/21 — St. Petersburg, Fla.
10/24 — Athens, Ga.
10/25 — Newberry, S.C.
10/27 — Macon, Ga.
10/28 — Atlanta, G.A.
10/29 — Charleston, S.C.
10/30 — Chapel Hill, N.C.
11/1 — Newport News, Va
11/3 — North Bethesda, Md
11/4 — Pittsburgh, Pa.
11/5 — Carmel, Ind.
11/6 — Detroit, Mich.
11/7 — Chicago, Ill.

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