Press Room

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CENTER FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCES 2006-2007 SEASON

April 10, 2006
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCES THE
2006-2007 SEASON OF
GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON

Hallmarks of the new season

-Local artists and ensembles
join the subscription series
-Dance lineup includes popular artists from close to home and around the world
-Two of Broadway’s best and brightest
-International artists appear not only on Global View series, but in Magnificent Music and beyond
-The American Echoes series journeys from the Golden Age of Radio to the Roots of Rock ‘n Roll, to today’s most up to the minute musical collaborations
-Every Global View event is Family Friendly!
-Bluegrass, Celtic and American roots music
find a home at the Center!


This season features exciting and diverse artists!
MICHAEL FEINSTEIN performs popular standards, the MASTER DRUMMERS OF BURUNDI, Broadway legend BETTY BUCKLEY, FAIRFAX SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA celebrates their 50th Anniversary, virtuoso pianist IVO POGORELICH,
TANIA PEREZ-SALAS’ COMPAÑIA DE DANZA, CHANTICLEER on Love, Rock ‘n Roll’s BO DIDDLEY; EDGAR MEYER and CHRIS THILE join forces, LORIN MAAZEL conducts the FILARMONICA ARTURO TOSCANINI, MOMIX leaps and bounds, CIRQUE ELOIZE enchants, VIRGINIA OPERA brings us four outstanding works, the SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR sings with power and majesty, YUNDI LI appears with the GEWANDHAUS ORCHESTRA OF LEIPZIG, CHERRYHOLMES shows why they are an award-winning bluegrass family, and, much, much more!


Fairfax, Virginia, April 6, 2006—The inclusion of several local ensembles and artists, as well as an impressive roster of internationally renowned orchestras, dance companies, and musicians firmly establishes George Mason University’s Center for the Arts as a “Regional center showcasing the best of the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area,” announced artistic director Rick Davis at a press conference in Fairfax on April 6 heralding the 2006-2007 season of Great Performances at Mason.

Davis called the Center “a generative force for regional arts and culture by producing, presenting, and promoting the area's finest artists and ensembles. ”

With members of the media, donors, sponsors, the Center’s staff, and the faculty of the College of Visual and Performing Arts in attendance, Davis elaborated on the artists and events coming to Fairfax beginning Fall 2006 and continuing through the Spring of 2007.

WE WELCOME NEWCOMERS TO OUR SERIES
Davis announces the inclusion of Fairfax’s highly praised Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, celebrating its 50th year in 2007, for the last 34 years under the direction of Maestro William Hudson. Though the Fairfax Symphony has made the Center for the Arts its home since the Center’s opening in 1990, this is the first time the orchestra will perform as part of the Center’s subscription series. Another local artist joining the series is renowned choreographer and Mason faculty member Susan Shields who has assembled a veritable “Who’s Who” of regional ballet companies from around the U.S. to perform some of her best known work, in Susan Shields Ballet Cocktail. Yet another locally-based and internationally acclaimed choreographer taking the stage is Dana Tai Soon Burgess launching the national tour of his acclaimed 2006 work Images from the Embers will launch from the Center for the Arts’s Fairfax stage.

Celebrated composer, arranger and performer Michael Feinstein kicks off the season with an evening of popular music from The Great American Songbook and more! Feinstein’s performance also inaugurates ‘Arts by George,’ a new initiative to raise funds for scholarships. In addition to tickets available for the concert alone, specially priced tickets also include student and faculty performances, tours, refreshments and a chance to meet the artist.

International artists and ensembles joining the Global View and Magnificent Music series include the up and coming BBC’s National Orchestra of Wales, known for their eclectic programming, on their first international tour. One of the D.C. area’s favorite conductors, Maestro Lorin Maazel, wields the baton before the accomplished Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, formed in 2001. From South Africa, the Center welcomes the rich, majestic and traditionally-influenced sounds of the Soweto Gospel Choir.

OLD FRIENDS
Davis is eager to point out that the Center values its longstanding relationships with artists and troupes who return to Northern Virginia again and again, saying, "We build each season with an eye on an artful blend of the familiar and the new. Over the years our audiences have developed deep connections with these artists, and we value our longstanding relationships with such 'old friends' as Chanticleer, bringing us a new program celebrating romance and matters of the heart; Jeffrey Siegel’s highly anticipated Keyboard Conversations; the Mark Morris Dance Group, with a program mixing the very musical with choreographic excellence; Virginia Opera with four exceptional productions; and the wildly popular and entertaining Canadian Brass.”

AMERICAN ORIGINALS

His unmistakable beat signaled the start of the rock ‘n roll era, recruited legions of fans and earned the suitable moniker, “The Originator.” Now, with GRAMMY winner Alvin Youngblood Hart, Bo Diddley rocks the Center for the Arts in November. The Center’s own Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra has been steadily building a devoted following among audiences; and this season Jim Carroll and his ensemble undertake an ambitious journey through America’s love affair with the ‘Big Band Sound’ with its roots in radio’s Golden Age and continuing today. Betty Buckley, who has already wowed Center audiences, returns with her inspired interpretations of show tunes and more.

CLASSICAL PROGRAMMING WITH PANACHE

Jeffrey Siegel performs four imaginative programs as part of his successful Keyboard Conversations® series. Focusing this year on the Romantics and their influences, Siegel’s programs are: Beethoven – Sunny Side Up!, Schumann – Musical Love Letters, Schubert – On Wings of Song; and Liszt – The Devil Made Me Do It!

Pianist Ivo Pogorelich, last seen at the Center in 2004, returns with another virtuoso performance. Formed in 2001, the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, under Maestro Maazel performs Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia Overture, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 45, Op. 90 in A major; and Respighis’s Fontane di Roma and Pini di Roma. The Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, directed by Riccardo Chailly, welcomes the dynamic, young pianist Yundi Li – causing sensations worldwide wherever he plays – as guest soloist for what is sure to be a landmark performance for the Center. Opera Verdi Europa, whose singers and musicians hail from the great houses of Central Europe, has been praised in previous appearances. The company performs Tosca, Puccini’s most theatrical opera.

VIRGINIA OPERA
"Cristina's leading role debut as Violetta created the kind of star-is-born sensation that jolted our audiences and critics to attention," said Virginia Opera Artistic Director Peter Mark announcing that soprano Cristina Nassif returns next fall in the title role of Bizet's Carmen. The 2006-2007 season continues with the back-to-back Virginia Premieres of Carlisle Floyd's internationally-acclaimed American opera, Susannah, and George Frederic Handel's baroque masterpiece, Agrippina.
Concluding the season is the popular double-bill commonly known as Cav-Pag. Sung in Italian, Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci - though unrelated - form a powerful evening of tragic opera that Virginia audiences have been demanding to see again since their last staging
in 1988.

NEW SOUNDS FROM RICH TRADITIONS

Many performances in 2006-2007 establish the Center for the Arts as one of the area’s best venues for crossover music including bluegrass and artists with a true American inspiration. Acclaimed bassist Edgar Meyer bridges new boundaries of style and virtuosity, teaming up with Nickel Creek’s master mandolin player,
Chris Thile for an incredible evening of musical interpretation. Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster delves into Celtic, bluegrass, contemporary acoustic music, and even jazz and classical styles; while remaining true to her roots.
Cherryholmes hit the road in 2002 with their distinct and hard driving musical signature and hasn’t looked back yet! Recently winning both GRAMMYs and top honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association, Cherryholmes is taking the bluegrass world, and soon Center for the Arts audiences, by storm. Finally, for a groundbreaking collaboration featuring classical, jazz and world music infused compositions, including works by acclaimed American composer Ben Verdery, look no further than the seamless virtuosity of guitarists John Williams and John Etheridge.

DANCE

Cementing our solid reputation for presenting today’s best dance ensembles performing in the world today, the Center for the Arts welcomes both old friends and fresh, new faces. Davis points out that in addition to the series debut of Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Susan Shields, the Center welcomes back the popular classical ballet, in the true Russian tradition, of Moscow Festvial Ballet, performing Don Quixote and Giselle in Spring 2007. Fast making a name for themselves internationally, Mexico’s Tania Pérez-Salas Compania de Danza makes their Center debut with a visually stunning program set to an intriguingly wide range of musical styles. Meanwhile, the undeniably outspoken Urban Bush Women make their first return to our stage in more than a decade! The brilliant and mesmerizing stagecraft practiced by Shen Wei Dance Arts, acclaimed during last year’s Festival of China, brings a unique hybrid of East and West.

SPENDING THE HOLIDAYS AT THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Ushering in the holidays are the lush, traditional sounds of Christopher Parkening on guitar paired with the elegant and hypnotizing vocals of baritone Jubilant Sykes in a program of classic and beloved Christmas music. Fiddler Eileen Ivers, who charmed Center audiences in 2003, returns with her band Immigrant Soul for an authentic Gaelic holiday celebration in An Nollaig – An Irish Christmas, complete with fiddling, singing, tin whistles, and, of course, Irish dancing! And, of course, the holiday season would be incomplete without the annual appearance of the much-loved Canadian Brass bringining beautiful music and, as always, lots of laughter to Fairfax!

OUTREACH: AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE MISSION
The Center for the Arts is working toward crafting innovative outreach opportunities including masterclasses, lectures, and more within the Mason community and with our partner K-12 schools, and community groups. Performances slated for possible community outreach efforts include (but are not limited to) MOMIX, Mark Morris Dance Group, The Acting Company, and Jubilant Sykes and Christopher Parkening.

CONCLUSION

Looking at the entire season, Davis remarks in conclusion, “Solidifying the deeply rooted and fruitful connections we’ve developed over the years with our outstanding regional ensembles, like Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, and now Susan Shields Ballet Cocktail is a consistent hallmark of the Center’s mission.” He elaborates, “our longstanding commitment to artist ‘friends’ like Mark Morris and Jeffrey Siegel, coupled with the return of legends like Betty Buckley, keep us grounded, yet poised to present sublime premiere classical events like the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini and Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig.
“At the Center for the Arts we always look forward with a nod to our past – our hearts are in Fairfax, but we retain a definite worldwide vision. When artists work for and in their own communities, the possibilities for lasting impact are tremendous."

# # #

SUBSCRIPTIONS TO GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON ARE AVAILABLE NOW. FOR A BROCHURE OR MORE INFORMATION CALL 703-993-ARTS (2787).

The Center for the Arts is pleased to recognize the continued support of
First Horizon Bank as sponsor of the
2006-2007 Season of Great Performances at Mason


GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, the professional presenting arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.

The Center for the Arts
Opened in 1990 and located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University, the Center for the Arts includes multiple performance spaces — Harris Theater, TheaterSpace, Black box, the Dance Studio, and our premiere venue, the Concert Hall.
The Center for the Arts plays a key role in the cultural vitality of the Washington Metropolitan region, attracting more than 100,000 patrons each year to performances by local artists and ensembles; community functions; student and faculty productions; the award-winning offerings of Theater of the First Amendment; and our own series — Great Performances at Mason. The Center also serves the George Mason University community, playing a significant role in the education and lives of students and faculty.