Acclaimed Pianist Returns to UM to Perform, Teach During ‘Celebrate Piano Series’

January 15, 2015

MISSOULA – Former Missoula resident Margery McDuffie Whatley will return to the University of Montana Music Recital Hall stage on Sunday, Jan. 25, to perform as part of the UM School of Music’s “Celebrate Piano Series.” She also will present a free, public masterclass on Friday, Jan. 23

Whatley plays piano as soloist and chamber musician for audiences from coast to coast. A native of Macon, Georgia, she has performed at the U.S. Supreme Court at the request of former Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun; at the World Congress Center in Atlanta for the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards ceremony; and at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion with her brother, Robert McDuffie, an internationally acclaimed violinist.

Whatley served as a visiting professor at UM and has taught regularly at UM’s Summer Piano Camp. She served as president of the String Orchestra of the Rockies board of directors and of the Missoula Music Teachers Association. She also has been featured on Montana Public Radio.

“Margery certainly holds her own in the world of professional pianists,” UM School of Music Professor Steven Hesla said, “but many Missoulians will further recall the outstanding performance she gave with her brother, Robert, a world-renowned violinist.”

During McDuffie’s residency at UM, the siblings performed together as part of the President’s Lecture Series, featuring the violin and piano version of Philip Glass’ violin concerto “The American Four Seasons.”

“It was a remarkable addition to the repertoire that was commissioned by and written for Robert, with its 2009-10 international premieres with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra, and in Missoula with Margery,” Hesla said.

After spending five years in Missoula, Whatley and her family relocated to Birmingham, Alabama in 2012.

Her three CDs have earned rave reviews from Fanfare Magazine and American Record Guide. More information on Whatley’s recordings is available on her website at

The Jan. 25 concert will begin at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for general admission, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, and are available online at or by calling the UMArts Box Office at 406-243-4581.

In addition to her recital, Whatley will teach a free masterclass from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, in UM’s Music Recital Hall. The public is invited to attend.

For more information on Whatley’s return visit to Missoula, call Hesla at 406-243-6055 or email

Contact: Steven Hesla, professor, UM School of Music, 406-243-6055,