Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


September 26, 2008
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.





Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008 at 8 p.m.


FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 24, 2008These two powerhouses of the string world have set the standard in their respective traditions. When they perform together on one stage, it is an elegant and dazzling musical experience. The classical string ensemble Turtle Island Quartet joins forces with guitar virtuosos Sérgio and Odair Assad for an extraordinary performance at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

Together Turtle Island Quartet and the Assads create a wild celebration performing music from across the globe: from the lands of Africa and India, to the Appalachian Mountains, the rhythmic poetry of the Balkans, the warmth and passion of Brazil and everything in between. The performance includes the works of Chick Corea, Egberto Gismonti, Astor Piazzola, Ralph Towner, Sérgio Assad and his daughter Clarice, and Turtle Island violinist David Balakrishnan. The Palm Beach Post extolled the pairing: “Out of their new partnership emerged a new, musical travelogue…that sprang from Turtle Island’s eclectic roots, but its tendrils traced the family trees of both ensembles.”

The Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings since its inception in 1985. Composed of violinists David Balakrishnan and Mads Tolling, violist Jeremy Kittel and cellist Mark Summer, the ensemble combines the classical string quartet esthetic with contemporary styles including jazz, folk, bluegrass, rock, swing, funk, hip-hop, R&B and ethnic music. Cellist nonpareil Yo-Yo Ma proclaimed Turtle Island to be “a unified voice that truly breaks new ground —authentic and passionate—a reflection of some of the most creative music making today.” This critically acclaimed ensemble has recorded more than a dozen albums, including "4+Four" (with the Ying Quartet) and "A Love Supreme," both Grammy winners in the Best Classical Crossover category.

Brazilian-born brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad have been described by The Washington Post as “the best two-guitar team in existence, maybe even history.” The Assads come from a background rich in Brazilian music tradition and studied with the finest guitarists in South America, including guitar/lutenist Monina Távora, a disciple of Andrés Segovia. The brothers have played a major role in the creating and introducing music for two guitars, and their virtuosity has inspired many composers to write music for them. They have also recorded with classical composers and artists, such as Yo-Yo Ma. The Assads recorded several albums with the renowned cellist, including one that won a Grammy in 1998. Their 2002 album "Sérgio and Odair Assad Play Piazzolla" also won a Latin Grammy. The Assads’ recent recording, "Jardim Abandonado" [Nonesuch], was recently nominated for a Latin Grammy Award in the category of Best Classical Album, and a composition from the album, "Tahhiyya Li Ossoulina," has been nominated in the Best Classical Contemporary Composition category. The Los Angeles Times described the Assads’ work as “so precise, so perfectly synchronized that it reaches far beyond musical partnership into a kind of creative symbiosis.”


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.

Tickets for TURTLE ISLAND QUARTET WITH SÉRGIO AND ODAIR ASSAD are $42, $34, $21. Family Friendly! Children 12 and under half price! Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit 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

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.