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CENTER FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCES 2008-09 SEASON
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S
CENTER FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCES
THE 2008-09 SEASON OF
GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON
• BROADWAY’S “LAST LEADING MAN” BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL
• VIRTUOSO PIANISTS EMANUEL AX and YEFIM BRONFMAN
• KIROV ORCHESTRA under VALERY GERGIEV
• DUBLIN PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA under DEREK GLEESON with soprano REGINA NATHAN
• ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC under RICHARD EGARR performing all six of the"BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS"
• NATIONAL RUSSIAN PHILHARMONIC under VLADIMIR SPIVAKOV
• STUNNING MODERN DANCE ENSEMBLES HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO, PHILADANCO, PARSONS DANCE, and COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET
• FIVE PROFESSIONAL ENTHRALLING THEATER PRODUCTIONS, INCLUDING THREE SHAKESPEAREAN PLAYS
• GLOBAL ARTISTRY FROM WEST AFRICA, SPAIN, CANADA, PORTUGAL, CHINA, and IRELAND
• LEGENDARY TRUMPETER DOC SEVERINSEN
and "EL RITMO DE LA VIDA"
• TURTLE ISLAND QUARTET with SÉRGIO and ODAIR ASSAD
• IRVIN MAYFIELD and NEW ORLEANS JAZZ ORCHESTRA
• FOUR ITALIAN OPERAS FROM VIRGINIA OPERA
And much, much more!
• PNC AND THE PNC FOUNDATION RENEW SEASON SPONSORSHIP
FAIRFAX, Va., April 3, 2008 – George Mason University’s Center for the Arts announced the new season of Great Performances at Mason at a press conference on Mason’s Fairfax campus, Thursday, April 3. In support of the season, PNC and the PNC Foundation announced its sponsorship of the Great Performances at Mason season for the second consecutive year. The 2008-09 season of Great Performances at Mason comprises nine performing arts series, beginning in fall 2008 and continuing through spring 2009.
“I am particularly pleased with the variety of our programs for 2008-09,” said Tom Reynolds, director of artistic programming, marketing and audience services, as he described a season emphasizing and promoting diversity and multiculturalism. “We have a great variety of events that will provide stimulating opportunities for people with many and diverse interests,” Reynolds said. “From the finest in classical music, to cutting edge modern dance, to theater that is captivating, historical and educational—this season has it all. From around the globe and across our own country, the Center brings the best of the performing arts.” Members of the media, donors, sponsors, the Center’s staff and the faculty of the College of Visual and Performing Arts heard Reynolds elaborate on the artists and events coming to Fairfax this season.
Rick Davis, the Center’s artistic director, explained the value of the visual and performing arts in a world filled with conflict and economic uncertainty. “The arts provide a focal point of celebration and reflection—a campfire around which we tell each other stories, dance, sing and grow closer as a community,” Davis said. “The coming season of Great Performances at Mason offers an unusually rich opportunity for all of our diverse communities to come together.”
George Mason University President Alan Merten extolled the Center for the Arts and the Great Performances at Mason series for cultivating the growing relationship between George Mason University and the surrounding community. “We view the Arts at Mason as one of the numerous ways the university connects to the community,” Merten said. “For many of our most dedicated friends, their introduction to George Mason University came through the Great Performances. We are immensely proud of what Great Performances at Mason means to the campus community and to the people of the region.”
President Merten introduced PNC Greater Washington Area President Michael N. Harreld, who noted, “PNC is very pleased to again join with Mason's Center for the Arts in sponsoring a season of such excellence and importance to the families of our region.”
William Reeder, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, of which the Center for the Arts is a part, said, “The Great Performances provide not only outstanding experiences for our audiences from across the region, but also give our students free access to extraordinary performing artists from around the world.”
RENOWNED CLASSICAL PERFORMERS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE
The Center announced a Magnificent Music Series featuring an extraordinary performance by virtuoso pianists Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman. The Kirov Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev, performs works by Prokofiev and a Beethoven piano concerto, featuring Alexei Volodin as piano soloist. The National Russian Philharmonic preserves the rich cultural traditions of Russia, performing favorites by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Liadov, under the direction of Maestro Vladimir Spivakov. Britain’s Academy of Ancient Music returns to Northern Virginia presenting a rare opportunity for audiences to hear all six of Bach’s "Brandenburg Concertos," conducted by Richard Egarr. Undertaking its first tour of the United States, the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring the dynamic young duo of conductor Derek Gleeson and soprano Regina Nathan, performs a selection of works including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.
MODERN, CLASSICAL AND GLOBAL DANCE
The Center’s esteemed Dynamic Dance Series continues to aim high, bringing a diverse collection of professional dance ensembles to Northern Virginia, including four contemporary dance companies. The acclaimed Hubbard Street Dance Chicago returns with its powerful repertoire from choreographers around the globe. Parsons Dance also returns to the Center, performing contemporary American dance that is both accessible and entertaining. Performing at the Center for the first time, Philadanco and Complexions Contemporary Ballet are modern dance companies that captivate audiences with their amazing enthusiasm, physicality and technical ability. The Russian National Ballet Theatre brings the venerated Russian tradition of classical ballet to two productions – "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty." Committed to its tradition of bringing diverse cultural traditions to the region, the Center brings to Fairfax performances by the Song and Dance Ensemble of West Africa and Ballet Flamenco José Porcel.
This year’s Enthralling Theater series brings three Shakespearean plays, each from a different genre: tragedy, comedy and history. The series kicks off with perhaps the most powerful and intriguing play ever written: "Hamlet." Shakespeare & Company, celebrating its 30th anniversary, brings its first national tour of this amazing production to Fairfax in fall 2008. Next, Aquila Theatre Company returns to the Center with an imaginative and exuberant production of Shakespeare’s "The Comedy of Errors." America’s premier touring troupe, The Acting Company, brings to life another Shakespearean play, "Henry V," as well as the world premiere of "The Spy," based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper. L.A. Theater Works rounds out this season of theater, performing "The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial," a staged radio drama using the original transcripts from the trial of John T. Scopes, which launched the great debate for evolution versus creationism.
SONG AND DANCE TRADITIONS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE
The performances in the Global View series are from across the globe – from West Africa to Spain, China to Canada, and Ireland to Portugal – and capture the diverse cultural traditions of song and dance around the world. This series begins with the Song and Dance Ensemble of West Africa and Ballet Flamenco José Porcel, two ensembles that present all the passion and spectacle of their regions’ native dance traditions. Fado luminary Mariza makes her first appearance at the Center, performing a musical blend of Gypsy, Jewish, Arabic and Andalusian influences that is often referred to as the “Portuguese Blues.” Natalie MacMaster, the fireball fiddler from Cape Breton, returns to the Center for a high-energy show full of foot-stomping fun; followed by Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, a lethal powerhouse of speed and sound. The Quebec-based acrobatic ensemble Cirque Éloize returns with "Nebbia," the third part of its mesmerizing sky trilogy, and the National Acrobats of China also return to the Center with three performances demonstrating their amazing flexibility, agility and extensive training.
The American Echoes series truly captures the diversity of the American musical landscape this season – from bluegrass to drum and bugle corps, to jazz and Latin American music, to a string quartet with two guitarists. This season features legendary trumpeter Doc Severinsen, who came out of retirement to perform with a trio of remarkable Latin American musicians, creating a program aptly titled "El Ritmo de la Vida" or “The Rhythm of Life.” DRUMLine Live brings the tradition of show-style, percussion-driven marching bands at historically black colleges and universities to the Center. Musical powerhouses Turtle Island Quartet and Sérgio and Odair Assad, combine the classical string quartet esthetic with contemporary styles including jazz, folk, rock and ethnic music, performing music from across the globe. Grammy-nominated family band Cherryholmes returns to the Center with their distinctive brand of bluegrass, and the Center’s own Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra preserves the American tradition of jazz with a program that examines East and West Coast jazz.
ARTS BY GEORGE!
The College of Visual and Performing Arts announces the third annual ARTS by George!, a gala evening supporting student scholarships and the Great Performances season, on Saturday, Sept. 27. The event features performing and visual arts by CVPA students and faculty, food and wine, and culminates with a concert by Brian Stokes Mitchell, dubbed Broadway’s “last leading man” by The New York Times. A tremendous baritone known for his musical versatility, charisma and a “chameleonic” ability to evoke any emotion, Mr. Mitchell takes the stage for a spectacular evening of timeless show tunes, ballads, and classic love songs, like “Embraceable You,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and his showstopper, “The Impossible Dream.”
With a reputation for bringing the opulence, quality and musicality of the world’s great operas to throngs of delighted patrons each season, the Virginia Opera performs four Italian operas this season that are both demanding and audience favorites. The season in Northern Virginia opens with Verdi’s classic "Il Trovatore," the action-packed romantic tragedy of two brothers secretly separated at birth who are fighting for the love of the same woman; followed by Donizetti’s intoxicating romantic comedy "The Elixir of Love." In spring 2009, the company offers Puccini’s suspenseful thriller "Tosca" and Rossini’s outrageous comedy, "The Barber of Seville."
Center veteran artist Jeffrey Siegel returns for a 16th season of his popular ‘concerts with commentary’ series, Keyboard Conversations®. These entertaining programs feature the renowned pianist speaking about a related selection of compositions and/or composers, playing works in their entirety, and then taking questions from the audience. This season, Siegel’s program features both the joyful and sorrowful works of Haydn and Mozart; illuminates Beethoven’s piano genius; examines shorter pieces by Mendelssohn, Grieg, Schubert and Brahms; and shares the inspiring “musical pictures” of Rachmaninoff, Debussy and Mussogsky.
HOLIDAY WISHES FROM FAIRFAX
The Center for the Arts presents something for everyone this holiday season! Classical music lovers will enjoy 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. Center favorites Chanticleer return with a spectacular program of Christmas carols, Medieval and Renaissance music, motets and American spirituals. Family-friendly offerings include a holiday performance by Leahy, a fiddling, step-dancing octet of siblings from Ontario, who brought down the house when they appeared at the Center in spring 2008; the pure and crystal clear voices of the Vienna Boys Choir; and a jazzy, spirited performance by Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, whose performance includes a crowd-pleasing Ellington arrangement of "The Nutcracker Suite."
A GROWING CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
The Friends of the Center for the Arts (FCFA) is unique in its mission to support the Center and Great Performances at Mason. For 12 years, this enthusiastic group of volunteers has played a significant role in the growth of the Great Performances. “Each year we have grown in membership as well as financial support for the Center,” said FCFA President Ida Portland. “I feel this reflects not only the quality of the work on stage, but the value the community at-large places on the role of the arts in our lives.”
Subscriptions to Great Performances at Mason are available now. For a brochure of more information, please call (703) 993-2787.
The Center for the Arts is pleased to recognize the generous support of PNC and the PNC Foundation as sponsor of the 2008-09 Great Performances at Mason Season.
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.