Press Room

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


November 4, 2010
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, Dec. 4, 2010 at 8 p.m.

FAIRFAX, Va., Oct. 27, 2010 – “A sterling example of first-rate jazz music-making,” the Los Angeles Times said of this Grammy Award-winning quartet. Turtle Island Quartet began 25 years ago when four virtuoso musicians formed this innovative ensemble and began redefining chamber music by integrating jazz improvisation with classical music, and exploring other music styles such as bluegrass, funk, Latin American and Indian classical music. To help celebrate its silver anniversary in grand style, Turtle Island Quartet invites two extraordinarily talented musicians to join them onstage – pianist Cyrus Chestnut and mandolinist Mike Marshall – for a remarkable evening of music including classic jazz and Americana as well as some holiday favorites. The performance takes place at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 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. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

“[Turtle Island Quartet] is a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today,” said Yo-Yo Ma about this incredible ensemble. One evening in November 1985, four adventurous young string players came together at a friend’s home to share a meal and perform some string quartet music, beginning a quarter-century journey that would shake the very foundation of the 250-year-old string quartet tradition, and play a central role in expanding the stylistic boundaries of American classical chamber music. With a named derived from creation mythology found in Native American folklore, the group now consists of David Balakrishnan and Mark Summer, the former, a violinist, who founded the quartet based on his post-graduate cross-genre compositional explorations, and the latter establishing himself as arguably the finest crossover cellist of the modern age; Danish jazz violin phenom Mads Tolling; and violist Jeremy Kittel, who holds the title of United States National Scottish fiddle champion. Turtle Island Quartet has made more than a dozen recordings on labels such as Windham Hill, Chandos, Koch and Telarc, and was awarded Grammys in 2006 and 2008 in the Best Classical Crossover category. The group’s most recent album, “Have You Ever Been…?” was released in August 2010 and features classical and jazz interpretations of rock legend Jimi Hendrix’s most famous songs, as well as Hendrix-inspired compositions by Balakrishnan. The ensemble has had numerous collaborations with famed artists spanning musical genres and art forms, including clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera; vibraphonist Stefon Harris; guitar legends Leo Kottke and the Assad Brothers; pianists Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, Ramsey Lewis, the Manhattan Transfer, the Ying Quartet; and contemporary dance company Parsons Dance.

Hailed by Time as “the best jazz pianist of his generation,” Chestnut is known for his inventive, imaginative style and has performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in music, including Terence Blanchard, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea, Isaac Hayes and others. “[Chestnut’s] brand of crisp articulation and blues-inflected harmony evokes another era,” raves The New York Times about this masterful pianist, who is as comfortable performing the songbook of Elvis Presley as he is with the music of Vince Guaraldi, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie.

One of the world’s most accomplished and versatile string instrumentalists in America today, Marshall is a master on mandolin, guitar, mandocello and violin. He has played with a diverse collection of artists: bluegrass with Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, and Chris Thile; Brazilian choro music with Hamilton de Holanda; and Baroque classical with German mandolinist Caterina Lichenberg. These collaborations demonstrate Marshall’s graceful ability to swing between musical styles with a unique blend of virtuosity, depth and musical integrity that is rare in the cross-cultural musical world of today.


Tickets for TURTLE ISLAND QUARTET WITH CYRUS CHESTNUT AND MIKE MARSHALL are $44, $36, $22. 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

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.