Sibling virtuosity on display at Missoula Symphony's season opener

Cory Walsh

Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn were siblings, both celebrated musicians and composers.

Who better to perform their work with Missoula Symphony Orchestra than a pair of virtuoso soloists who happen to be siblings?

Robert McDuffie is an internationally renowned violinist who’s in demand from orchestras, performing masterpieces old and new. (Philip Glass wrote a violin concerto for him.)

His sister, Margery McDuffie Whatley, is a conservatory-trained pianist who teaches music at the University of Montana.

“This is the first time we’ve done a concerto together,” Robert said, as there aren’t many written that spotlight both their respective instruments.

“This is amazing,” said McDuffie, who’s eager to explore new pieces deep into his career. “I’ve just had the greatest time learning it.”

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Whatley said she and her brother have performed together as a duo quite frequently, sometimes in interesting venues such as the governor’s mansion in their home state of Georgia, but the pandemic limited their opportunities.

Music Director Julia Tai said she’s long wanted to work with Robert, citing his warm tone and the fact that he performs “blockbuster” classics and premieres of new works. Soloists like that bring

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