Art Matters Announces Fifth Symposium Featuring Music Critic Alex Ross and McDuffie Center Director Amy Schwartz Moretti

MACON, Ga. — Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is pleased to announce the fourth in its series of six public symposia on the role of criticism and arts journalism in fostering an informed and engaged community.  The symposium will be held at Mercer University’s Neva Langley Fickling Hall on April 7 at 1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and is co-presented by Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music and Robert McDuffie Center for Strings.

The symposium will focus on the role of music and music criticism in society, current trends in each field, and how the changing media landscape is affecting music and music criticism.  Featured panelists are Amy Schwartz Moretti and Alex Ross.

Amy Moretti

Violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti has served as director of the Robert McDuffie Center, where she holds the Caroline Paul King Chair in Violin, since its inception in 2007. Ms. Moretti came to Mercer following eight years as concertmaster, first with The Florida Orchestra, then the Oregon Symphony. She made her New York solo concerto debut in Carnegie Hall and performs widely, especially chamber music, appearing across North America and Europe in artist series and at music festivals. Recent engagements include performances as a guest of Camerata Pacifica and Musical Masterworks, and a European debut tour with the Ehnes Quartet that included concerts at Wigmore Hall and Musée du Louvre. A versatile artist, Ms. Moretti has appeared with gypsy-jazz guitarist and composer Stephane Wrembel, and Pops conductor/performer/composer Matt Catingub has written a concerto for her: Shades of Blue for Violin, Jazz Trio and Orchestra. The Cleveland Institute of Music has recognized her with an Alumni Achievement Award and she is the first Pre-College Division graduate to be named a San Francisco Conservatory of Music Fanfare Honoree. Through the generous efforts of the Stradivari Society of Chicago, Ms. Moretti was awarded the extended loan of a beautiful G.B. Guadagnini violin from Piacenza, 1744, known as the “Canadian.”

Alex Ross Photo by David Michalek
Alex Ross
Photo by David Michalek

Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. His first book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, won a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Guardian First Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His second book is the essay collection Listen to This. He is now at work on Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music. Ross has received an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Belmont Prize in Germany and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is a one-year initiative designed to engage the community through high-quality arts journalism.  A $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant and a matching $40,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation support the $80,000 project.  The project received one of only four national arts journalism grants funded by the NEA in 2013 and is the first time in seven years that Macon Arts Alliance has been awarded an NEA grant.

The Macon Arts Alliance (MAA), in collaboration with Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, will embed paid journalism interns in various arts organizations served by Macon Arts Alliance. These journalists will create news articles, blogs, video reports and more for local news outlets, the CCJ’s newsroom, Macon Arts Alliance’s and other publications. The program provides for a critic-in-residence at the CCJ and a series of public symposia that will pair different artists and critics to discuss the state of various art forms and criticism.

About Art Matters

Art Matters is an arts journalism partnership of Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism that seeks to engage the community through embedded arts journalists. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works. Matching funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

About Macon Arts Alliance

The mission of the Macon Arts Alliance is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. Macon Arts Alliance works to create an environment where arts and culture thrive and Central Georgia is recognized as an unparalleled cultural destination. Macon Arts Alliance is the designated local arts agency for Macon-Bibb County.

About the Center for Collaborative Journalism

The Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ) is a unique partnership between Mercer University, The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Center’s groundbreaking collaboration has students, faculty and veteran journalists working together in a joint newsroom. Learning in a “teaching hospital” model, students engage the community.

About Townsend School of Music

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 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 please visit or call (478) 301-5751.