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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCES 2011-12 SEASON OF GREAT PERFORMANCES

April 7, 2011
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

ANNOUNCES

THE 2011-12 SEASON OF

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON

Featuring 

· A dynamite joint performance by MICHAEL FEINSTEIN and MARVIN HAMLISCH performing the best of the Great American Songbook from Broadway to Hollywood at the 6th annual ARTS by George!

· MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY performing “Appalachian Spring,” as well as an exciting collaboration with the MASON DANCE COMPANY

· Inspiring modern dance by RIVER NORTH DANCE CHICAGO and CEDAR LAKE CONTEMPORARY BALLET, making their Center for the Arts debuts

· Celebrated Russian and German orchestras including MARIINSKY ORCHESTRA, CHAMBER ORCHESTRA KREMLIN, “TSCHAIKOWSKI,” ST. PETERSBURG STATE ORCHESTRA, DÜSSELDORF SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and NORDWEST DEUTSCHE PHILHARMONIC

· Pianist CHRISTOPHER O’RILEY and cellist MATT HAIMOVITZ, blending classical and pop genres with “SHUFFLE.PLAY.LISTEN”

· Legendary Cuban jazz pianist CHUCHO VALDÉS with the Afro-Cuban Messengers 

· Three-time Grammy Award winner BRANFORD MARSALIS performing original compositions and modern jazz standards with the Branford Marsalis Quartet

· Folk music legend and storyteller ARLO GUTHRIE with “BOYS NIGHT OUT”

· Grammy Award-winning SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR performing traditional and contemporary songs in South Africa’s many languages

·  Enthralling theater productions by AQUILA THEATRE, WALNUT STREET THEATRE, THE ACTING COMPANY and THEATER OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT

· New VIRGINIA OPERA productions of Verdi’s “AIDA,” Humperdinck’s “HANSEL AND GRETEL,” the Virginia premiere of Philip Glass’ “ORPHÉE” and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “THE MIKADO”

· The 19th season of KEYBOARD CONVERSATIONS® with JEFFREY SIEGEL

·  Holiday performances by CHANTICLEER, DAILEY & VINCENT, GEORGE WINSTON, NATALIE MACMASTER and MARIACHI LOS CAMPEROS DE NATI CANO

 ·  And much, much more!

 

FAIRFAX, Va., April 7, 2011 Weeks before the conclusion of its 20th anniversary season, George Mason University’s Center for the Arts announced a stellar 2011-12 season of Great Performances at Mason, featuring more than 50 performances by nationally and internationally renowned artists. The new season was announced at a press conference at the Center’s Concert Hall on Mason’s Fairfax Campus on Thursday, April 7. Great Performances at Mason comprises nine performing arts series, beginning in fall 2011 and continuing through spring 2012.

“I’m thrilled to reveal a spectacular season of performances that demonstrates the Center’s commitment to extraordinary diversity, with offerings this year including everything from a Mariachi band to the Mariinsky Orchestra,” said Tom Reynolds, the Center’s director of artistic programming, marketing and audience services, as he presented the new season. “With more than 50 marvelous performances, the Center for the Arts endeavors to appeal to those who prefer the classics, as well as those who enjoy more contemporary and popular performances.” Members of the media, donors, sponsors, Mason staff and the faculty of the College of Visual and Performing Arts heard Reynolds elaborate on the artists and ensembles coming to Fairfax in 2011-12.

“I’m pleased that we have a season that both engages the mind and enriches the spirit,” said Rick Davis, artistic advisor of George Mason University’s Center for the Arts. “This season encompasses such a wide array of performances that I think we can truly claim to offer something for everyone – from the classical to the contemporary and spanning all kinds of performance styles. None of this would be possible without the excellent underwriting that we receive from our sponsors, who recognize the value that the arts have in the lives of their customers and employees.” Davis recognized 2011-12 corporate sponsors HSBC Bank, the Global View series sponsor, and Steinway Piano Gallery of Washington, D.C., the Keyboard Conversations® sponsor.

George Mason University President Alan Merten praised the Center for the Arts for cultivating the relationship between George Mason University and the surrounding community. “For more than 20 years, the Center for the Arts has served as George Mason University’s welcome point, inviting the community to be a part of Mason’s commitment to the arts,” Merten said. “More than four million people have attended events in this incredible and versatile space. One of its greatest gifts is its ability to accommodate events as diverse as high school and college graduations, military bands, student performances and speeches by the president of the United States. The highlight of each year is the diverse group of outstanding artists that visit the Center as part of the Great Performances at Mason series.”

 

ARTS BY GEORGE!

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) presents its 6th annual ARTS by George! on Saturday, Sept. 24. This unique benefit event supports student scholarships in the areas of dance, music, theater, visual arts, film and video studies, computer game design and arts management, as well as the Center for the Arts’ Great Performances at Mason series. The spectacular evening begins with a multidisciplinary showcase of the remarkable talents of CVPA students and faculty amid an array of sumptuous food and beverages. The event culminates in the Concert Hall with a dynamite joint performance by celebrated vocalist Michael Feinstein and award-winning composer, conductor and pianist Marvin Hamlisch, who team up for a melodic journey through the Great American Songbook, featuring the very best of popular music from Broadway to Hollywood. 

 

CONTEMPORARY, CLASSICAL AND GLOBAL DANCE 

 One of the premier destinations for dance in the greater D.C. area, the Center announced a diverse Dynamic Dance series that features some of the most cutting-edge dance ensembles performing today, gorgeous classical ballet companies, stunning global dance groups and one of the most revered modern dance companies of all time. Formed more than eight decades ago, the pioneering Martha Graham Dance Company performs Graham’s innovative masterwork “Appalachian Spring,” set to an unforgettable score by Aaron Copland. The company will also be joined by the Mason Dance Company to perform Panorama.” Known for its eye-popping theatrics and visually striking choreography, Pilobolus performs an inventive program that showcases its daring physicality, breathtaking gracefulness and ingenious wit. Led by artistic director Frank Chaves, River North Dance Chicago embodies the true flavor of “Americana” with a diverse and eclectic repertoire of work by established and emerging American choreographers. Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson have brought their art to the greatest stages on the planet, but also to the popular entertainment world with appearances on “E!” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Their Complexions Contemporary Ballet performs a captivating program demonstrating intensity, passion, technical brilliance and a commitment to multiculturalism. The groundbreaking Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet marries daring athletic movement and classical ballet techniques with popular and contemporary dance forms and multimedia. The Moscow Festival Ballet preserves the venerated Russian tradition of classical ballet with two luminous productions – “The Sleeping Beauty and “Cinderella.” Committed to bringing culturally diverse artists to Northern Virginia, the Center presents two colorful performances by Compañia Flamenca José Porcel, which brings “Gypsy Fire,” featuring the purest, oldest and most fiery forms of flamenco.

 

CELEBRATED CLASSICAL ARTISTS AND ENSEMBLES

The Center announced a Magnificent Music series featuring a superb collection of world-class performers and orchestras. Esteemed Maestro Valery Gergiev conducts one of Russia’s oldest and most respected musical organizations, the Mariinsky Orchestra, in an exciting program that features Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and a concerto by a Tchaikovsky competition medalist. The dynamic Chamber Orchestra Kremlin appears under Misha Rachlevsky, performing music of the Russian masters in the first half, and then letting the audience choose the works for the second half of the program. Under the direction of Roman Leontiev, “Tschaikowski,” St. Petersburg State Orchestra performs Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé”: Suite No. 2 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” for Orchestra, Op. 35. Prize-winning pianist Alexandre Pirojenko also joins the orchestra for Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 in D-flat major. The second oldest municipal orchestra in Germany, Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra appears under Andrey Boreyko to perform Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Op. 36 in F minor and a violin concerto with Grammy-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie. For the past 60 years, the Nordwest Deutsche Philharmonic has fulfilled a vital role as cultural ambassador for its region in Europe and abroad. This grand ensemble appears under Eugene Tzigane to perform Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” Suite No. 1 and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor, and virtuoso cellist Amit Peled joins the orchestra for Victor Herbert’s Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor. Two outstanding artists known for breaking down barriers in classical music, pianist Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz bring an innovative program called “Shuffle.Play.Listen” that weaves in and out of the classical and popular music genres and mingles artists as diverse as Bach, Stravinsky, Piazzolla, Nirvana and Radiohead.

 

MUSIC AND DANCE FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE

The artists in the Global View series hail from countries as diverse as Cuba, Portugal, South Africa, Japan, Colombia, Spain and China – and present the unique music and dance traditions of their homelands. This series begins with “Kings of Salsa, a Latin music and dance sensation by hip, young Cuban choreographer Roclan Gonzalez Chavez that showcases a spicy blend of cool street salsa, Afro-Caribbean hip-hop, contemporary dance and the Cuban classics – mambo, rumba and cha-cha-cha – to spicy rhythms performed live by Cuba Ashire. Spain’s premier flamenco dancer and choreographer, José Porcel, brings Compañia Flamenca José Porcel, presenting the powerful movement, vibrant colors, breathtaking choreography and passionate rhythms associated with this remarkable Spanish dance form. One of the most prominent interpreters of fado music, Portuguese contraltro Mariza presents this unique musical genre that is often referred to as the “Portuguese blues.” On its inaugural North American tour, National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China preserves a centuries-old acrobatic art form, performing daring feats with tables, chairs, ladders, poles, bicycles, bowls and plates. The Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir of South Africa brings uplifting songs of joy, peace and hope that will stir the spirit and fill the heart. Embarking on its first U.S. tour, Ballet Folklórico de Antioquia, Colombia shares the richness and diversity of Colombian culture with authentic music, ritualistic dance and physical theater accentuated with vibrant and scintillating costumes. In an eagerly anticipated new production, Taiko drum ensemble TAO performs “The Art of the Drum,” a fresh, energetic interpretation of the ancient art of Japanese drumming. HSBC Bank is the 2011-12 Global View series sponsor.

 

A CELEBRATION OF AMERICAN ART FORMS

The American Echoes series truly captures the diversity of American art forms – from classic to contemporary jazz, from Broadway and classic pop music to folk music, from musical comedy to Latin rhythms. This season features three-time Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis leading his quartet in an extraordinary program featuring original compositions and modern jazz standards. A multimedia production featuring outstanding live music by trumpeter Jason Palmer and his quintet, photography, film clips and beat poet-style narration, “The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959: A Collaboration with Blue Note Records” tells the story of post-war America – the challenges and optimism, the struggle for civil rights, the historical milestones and the creative cauldron of new music pioneered by this nonpareil of the jazz world. Multiple Grammy Award winner and virtuoso pianist Chucho Valdés and his band, the Afro-Cuban Messengers, perform a sublime evening of Latin jazz. Arlo Guthrie, one of the great 20th century American folk singers and storytellers, appears with son Abe Guthrie, grandson Krishna Guthrie and longtime collaborator Terry a La Berry in a concert called “Boys Night Out,” an entertaining evening of folk favorites, amusing stories and witty anecdotes. A hit musical in London’s West End, “The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers” combines the unforgettable classic R&B music and hilarious madcap comedy popularized by comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the 1970s. Under the direction of Jim Carroll, Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra brings an incredible evening of stunning interpretations of classics by Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and more. The American Festival Pops Orchestra, led by Anthony Maiello, celebrates the immense talent of such great American composers as John Williams, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and John Philip Sousa with delightful favorites from Broadway, cinema and television, as well as patriotic music honoring our nation.

 

CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY THEATER

The Center presents five classic and contemporary plays by four acclaimed theater companies in its Enthralling Theater series. The esteemed British/American Aquila Theatre performs Oscar Wilde’s delightful comedic masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest,” and “Macbeth,” Shakespeare’s wicked and tragic tale of ambition, madness and murder. Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, America’s oldest continuously operating theater, presents David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play, “Proof,” a touching work about fathers and daughters, genius and insanity, legacy and truth. One of Shakespeare’s greatest historical tragedies is brought to life by one of America’s leading touring theater companies when The Acting Company performs “Julius Caesar.” Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), George Mason University’s professional theater in residence, performs “Stay,” a poignant production about a family living on a remote island off the coast of Scotland. Conceived by choreographer Susan Shields and TFA’s co-artistic director Heather McDonald, this stirring work merges theater, dance, SLAM multimedia, film and music.

  

VIRGINIA OPERA

With a reputation for bringing the magnificence and musicality of beloved operas to throngs of delighted patrons each season, the Virginia Opera returns with a grand season of four new productions. The season opens with Verdi’s “Aida,” a heartbreaking tale of a bitter love triangle between an Ethiopian princess, a military commander and the Pharoah’s daughter, and a epic struggle between two warring nations. In December, Virginia Opera brings a Family Friendly production of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, “Hansel and Gretel.” This magical story charms children with its visions of sweet, mystical woodland creatures and an eerie and enchanting forest – and adults are entranced by its beautiful and sophisticated score by Englebert Humperdinck. In the spring, Virginia Opera presents the Virginia premiere of Philip Glass’ “Orphée.” Based on Jean Cocteau’s stunning cinematic reimagining of the myth of Orpheus and Euridice, this romantic, surrealistic tale features uplifting jazz-inspired musical orchestration and explores themes of sacrificing love for art, love transcending death and the immortality of art. The Virginia Opera concludes its season with Gilbert and Sullivan’s cheeky and deliciously witty masterpiece, “The Mikado.” Written to satirize the social mores of 19th century England, this ridiculously funny tale, set in the fictional Japanese town of Tipitu, is one of the most popular and most often performed operas of all time. 

 

KEYBOARD CONVERSATIONS ®  WITH JEFFREY SIEGEL

A beloved institution at the Center, celebrated pianist Jeffrey Siegel returns for the 19th season of his popular “concerts with commentary” series, Keyboard Conversations®. These fascinating programs feature this piano virtuoso providing unique insight into the lives and work of the most famous composers of all time before performing their works. Siegel kicks off this season with “A Beethoven Bonanza, giving his audience a glimpse into this musical genius’s story of personal triumph over tragedy. In his second program of the season, “From Heart to Art: The Romantic Music of Franz Liszt,” Siegel explores the sizzling virtuosity and seductive lyricism of Liszt, who is often credited with creating the Symphonic Poem. In the spring, Siegel whisks audience on a journey across continents and centuries, performing works by two of the greatest Russian composers of all time in “Russian Rapture: Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.” Finally, Siegel concludes his 19th season at the Center with a tribute to one of the leading composers of the romantic era with “The Power and Passion of Brahms.” Steinway Piano Gallery of Washington, D.C. is the 2011-12 series sponsor of Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel.

  

SEASONS GREETINGS FROM FAIRFAX

The Center announced a delightful collection of holiday performances that reflect the diversity of Christmas celebrations throughout the world. Cherished favorite Chanticleer celebrates the season with “A Chanticleer Christmas,” its annual Thanksgiving weekend program of traditional Christmas carols, revered sacred works and popular holiday favorites. Praised by audiences and critics alike for impeccable vocal arrangements and breathtaking two-part harmonies, award-winning bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent brings “I Believe in Christmas,” a holiday concert that demonstrates the pair’s deep spirituality and truly captures the reason for the season. Known for his quintessential impressionistic style, virtuoso rural folk pianist George Winston presents “The Winter Show,” an evening of enchanting music that is sure to evoke the spirit of the season. Celebrated Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster takes audiences on a musical sleigh ride through Nova Scotia at Christmas with “Christmas in Cape Breton,” a spirited performance of traditional and contemporary Celtic melodies and Christmas carols. The Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano brings “Fiesta Navidad,” a festive and joyful holiday performance that celebrates and honors the unique cultural tradition of Mexico. 

 

Subscriptions to Great Performances at Mason are available now and single tickets go on sale on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. For a brochure with more information, please call (703) 993-2787 or e-mail stagecfa@gmu.edu.

 

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.