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R.E.M.'s Mike Mills Drops 'Joyful' Rock & Classical Concerto
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 12:00 AM
After spending 31 years as a member of the rock group R.E.M., bassist Mike Mills was asked by his childhood friend and violinist Robert McDuffie to try something different: compose a piece of music that combined Mills's rock and pop influences with classical music. It took Mills a few years to complete the piece, and now he and McDuffie are releasing it. The record comes out on Oct. 14 and they will support it with a 14-date U.S. tour.
The name of the piece is Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra and it is flavored with influences from the experience of the two friends who grow up in Georgia.
"Mike has created a beautiful and joyful concerto," McDuffie said in a press release about the tour and recording. "It's a work that goes straight to your heart, and by the end you'll want to dance and move to the South."
Here is an excerpt of Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra:
McDuffie is a Grammy-nominated violinist who has appeared in the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, as well as several other notable ensembles, and runs the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Macon’s Mercer University. Students from the center performed on the recording.
The concerto, with orchestration and additional music by David Mallamud, features McDuffie performing on violin; a four-member rock band led by composer Mills (performing on bass and keyboard) with two electric guitarists and a drummer; and a string orchestra.
Mills and McDuffie will be be taking the concerto on tour beginning Oct. 20. In addition to Mills's original composition, the program will include John Adams's Road Movies and Philip Glass's Symphony No. 3.
The two have collaborated before on stage to perform an orchestrated version of the R.E.M. song "Nightswimming," which they performed in Rome in June.