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CAPE BRETON FIDDLER NATALIE MACMASTER RETURNS TO GMU'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 8 p.m.
FAIRFAX, Va., March 25, 2009 – “To call Natalie MacMaster the most dynamic performer in Celtic music today is high praise, but it still doesn’t get at how remarkable a concert artist this Cape Breton fiddler has become.” (Boston Herald) Delivering an abundance of high-energy, foot-stomping fun, the exuberance of this acclaimed fiddler from Nova Scotia amazes young and old alike. “Natalie MacMaster’s a ball of fire, performing jigs and reels with unstoppable, foot-tapping energy and ballads with irresistible, keening passion.” (Los Angeles Times) Firmly rooted in her native Cape Breton fiddle traditions, Grammy Award nominee Natalie MacMaster first picked up a violin at the age of nine, and has not looked back. Once again, Center audiences have the opportunity to witness MacMaster’s interpretations of Celtic, bluegrass and contemporary acoustic music mingled with jazz, rock and classical music when she performs at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, May 9 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.
Natalie MacMaster was first noticed for her mastery of the Cape Breton sound, which is rooted in the Scottish Highlands and Outer Hebrides and was brought to Canada by 18th and 19th century immigrants. Celebrating this sound and culture is MacMaster’s mission, and she does so through enthusiastic performances and her Internet radio show "Cape Breton Live." Her goal, she says, is to try to “capture the culture, as opposed to just the music … we want to share the spirit and the vibe, and what we’re about as a people.”
The niece of famed fiddler Buddy MacMaster, Natalie quickly became a talent in her own right, collaborating with Alison Krauss, Carlos Santana, Bela Fleck, Faith Hill, Paul Simon, The Chieftains and even Luciano Pavarotti. After winning numerous awards for her traditional recordings, she began taking Celtic music to new heights with albums like "In My Hands," which infused traditional fiddling with elements of jazz and Latin music. She has recorded nine albums and received a Grammy nomination and two Juno Awards for "My Roots Are Showing" and "In My Hands." She also recently recorded an album called "Yours Truly" with a song called “Farewell To Peter,” in which MacMaster paid respects to her friend, fan and fellow Canadian, ABC news anchor Peter Jennings.
Though she just became a mother for the third time (she is married to fiddler Donnell Leahy, who performs with the Leahys – a group that includes seven of his brothers and sisters), MacMaster said her music has not changed, but that having a family and being a mother has reinvigorated her commitment to the stage and her audience.
“I like being on stage even more,” MacMaster said. “When I appear onstage, that’s my departure from Momhood – and I transform into Natalie MacMaster: the entertainer, the fiddler, the performer. I relish that now more.”
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 NATALIE MACMASTER are $44, $36, $22 Family Friendly! All children, 12 and under, half price! 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.