Press Room

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


April 27, 2009
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.





May 31-June 27, 2009


FAIRFAX, Va., April 27, 2009—George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts announces the 2009 Mason Summer Festival, to be held on Mason’s Fairfax campus May 31 to June 27. This monthlong festival celebrates artists and arts organizations from the University community and around the Northern Virginia region, presenting a diverse selection of artistic performances and events that unite professional artists, student artists, arts organizations and the community in a creative environment. Offerings include performances by the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, the McLean Symphony and the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra. Festival Corporate Sponsors include Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP, the Boeing Corporation and the Esther B. Kahn Charitable Foundation. The Mason Summer Festival is made possible through the support of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, the City of Fairfax Commission on the Arts, the Virginia Commission on the Arts and the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

“We’re very pleased to be hosting this annual event for a second summer,” said Kevin Murray, the festival’s executive director. “We have some new arts partners joining some familiar faces from last summer, and an expanded program of arts education and family friendly programming that will make the Mason campus an arts destination for our region.”  

The festival kicks off on May 31 with a performance by the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Under the direction of American Youth Philharmonic conductor Luis Haza and American Youth Symphonic Orchestra conductor Carl J. Bianchi and featuring trumpeter Thomas Cupples, the AYPO performs a rousing program including Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major, Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Berlioz’s “Roman Carnival Overture” and Respighi’s “Pini di Roma” (“The Pines of Rome”). This performance also serves as the AYPO’s season finale.

Michael Nickens—known to Mason basketball fans as "Doc Nix," the leader of the Mason’s award-winning pep band, the Green Machine—teams up with Matt Nolan of Mason’s new game design program to present an evening of improvisational music and state-of-the art Wii technology on June 6.

Committed to celebrating the diversity for which Mason is known, this year’s festival features performances with an international flair, including French classical guitarist Roland Dyens in concert on June 7, hosted by Mason’s own Potomac Arts Academy. Seventy students from Hayato High School in Yokohama, Japan will offer performances and demonstrations of Japanese arts and cultural practices at the Japan Fair on June 13. On June 20-21, Rick Davis and José Cáceres direct "Exploring Zarzuela" presented by the In Series. Zarzuelas, or Spanish musical theater/light opera performances, feature soaring melodies, clicking castanets, dance, romance and mostly comical situations, and never fail to captivate and entertain audiences. The English dialogue will be provided by Bari Biern.

The McLean Symphony performs on June 14, in a program called “Sounds and Sights of America!” featuring selections from Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo,” Duke Ellington’s “Harlem,” Thomas Jefferson’s "Testament of Freedom" (set to music by Randall Thompson) and Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer’s Saturday” (set to music by John Dankworth).

Featuring the top jazz musicians in the D.C. metropolitan area, the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra presents an evening of West Coast and East Coast jazz on June 21 at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The program includes the music of Stan Kenton, Gordon Goodwin, Alan Baylock, Gerry Mulligan, Benny Goodman and more.

Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), Mason’s professional theater company, returns with an expanded First Light Discovery Program of new play development, featuring staged readings of emerging work by playwrights Sherry Kramer and Jennifer L. Nelson, and a new screenplay by Wendy L. Anderson on June 13.

Arts education is a major focus of this year’s festival, which partners with the Potomac Arts Academy to offer training to young artists in guitar, jazz, strings and more. A Class Act: Acting for Young People offers theater training to budding actors. The Mason Department of Dance hosts a two-day Dance Intensive for area high school students. Theater of the First Amendment again offers its First Light student playwriting competition and mentorship program, offering development and readings of student work presented by professional actors and directors. TFA also teams up with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Acting for Young People to present the Generations Playwriting Project, which offers opportunities for students and senior citizens to collaborate in playwriting. These readings, with audience feedback, are offered on Saturdays in June.

Throughout the festival, works from local artists Kristin Herzog and Mark Isaacs will be featured in gallery displays in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall lobby. Herzog creates both realistic and abstract work and experiments with a variety of media, while Isaacs is known for his colorful seascape and landscape paintings. Works by Mason faculty and graduate students will be on display in the Mason Hall Alumni Atrium Gallery and the Performing Arts Building.

According to Murray, ticket prices have been reduced from last year to make it more possible for families to attend events together. 

We are offering so many events at reduced prices, with many events free of charge,” Murray said. “We are thrilled that the Mason Summer Festival can contribute to the already vibrant Northern Virginia arts experience.”

All events are subject to change.


To purchase Festival tickets, please call 888-945-2468 or visit In person, visit the Center for the Arts ticket office. Ticket prices vary. For more information about programming, please call 703-993-2787. 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 or

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

Named the #1 national university to watch by U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, dance, organizational psychology and health care, Mason students are routinely recognized with national and international scholarships. 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.