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BERGEN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA WITH PRINCIPAL CONDUCTOR ANDREW LITTON AND PIANIST ANDRÉ WATTS

October 2, 2007
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR THE ARTS
PRESENTS
BERGEN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
WITH PRINCIPAL CONDUCTOR ANDREW LITTON
AND CELEBRATED PIANIST ANDRÉ WATTS
Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007 at 4 p.m.

 

FAIRFAX, Va., Oct. 1, 2007 – This season American audiences will have the opportunity to experience the renowned 242-year-old Norwegian Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra as it makes its first U.S. tour. One of the world’s oldest orchestra ensembles, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra’s long and illustrious history includes associations with some of history’s finest maestro’s, most notably Edvard Grieg. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, led by principal conductor Andrew Litton with celebrated pianist André Watts, performs at George Mason University Center for the Arts on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticketholders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance, on the Concert Hall’s Grand Tier III.

Established in 1765, the Bergen Philharmonic shares the designation of Norwegian National Symphony Orchestra with the Oslo Philharmonic. Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg had close ties to the orchestra and served as artistic director from 1880-1882. The Bergen Philharmonic frequently performs Grieg’s compositions and recently recorded the composer's complete orchestral works. “The Bergen Philharmonic plays [Grieg’s "Peer Gynt"] as if it is in its blood – which it is.” (International Record Review) For this performance, the orchestra accompanies renowned pianist, André Watts in Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor. Also included on the program is Knut Vaage’s "Chatter" and Shostakovich’s monumental Symphony No. 5 and Festive Overture, Op. 96.

Since fall 2003, the orchestra has been under the direction of American conductor Andrew Litton, who also serves as artistic director with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra Summerfest. Litton, who has appeared as a guest conductor with more than 110 of the world’s top orchestras and opera companies, is the first American to lead one of Europe’s oldest orchestras. “Andrew Litton is a blessedly generous conductor. Deeply engaged with the material, he gives of himself and inspires the uttermost from the musicians.” (Bergens Tidende)

At age 16, André Watts was selected by Leonard Bernstein to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic on the televised "Young People’s Concerts." His career was truly launched two weeks later, when the New York Philharmonic asked him to fill in for Glenn Gould. More than 45 years later, Watts is celebrated worldwide, performing with the world’s great orchestras and selling out recitals and appearances at international festivals. “He’s spiced the poetic sensibility and virtuosic bravura of his pianism with a certain plebian appeal that never seems to fade.” (International Piano and Keyboard) He has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and symphonies across the United States. Watts has had numerous programs on PBS, the BBC and A&E, and his 1976 New York recital on the program "Live from Lincoln Center," was the first full-length recital broadcast in the history of television. Watts was also nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance at the 38th Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, and has numerous recordings on the Sony Classical label.

 

PNC is the 2007-08 Season Sponsor for Great Performances at Mason.

Tickets for BERGEN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA are $56, $48, $28. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.tickets.com. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa

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.

About George Mason University

George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.