Press Room

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November 17, 2011
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. 17, 2011 at 8 p.m.


FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 16, 2011 – Virtuoso fiddler Natalie MacMaster returns to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 at 8 p.m. with “Christmas in Cape Breton.” In this spirited performance, the acclaimed Canadian artist takes audiences on a musical sleigh ride through Nova Scotia at Christmastime, performing traditional and contemporary Celtic melodies and Christmas carols, complemented by fiddling fireworks and ferocious step dancing. This performance is Family Friendly: tickets are half price for youth through grade 12 when accompanied by an adult. 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.

“To call Natalie MacMaster the most dynamic performer in Celtic music today is high praise, but it still doesn’t get at just how remarkable a concert artist this Cape Breton Island fiddler has become,” raves the Boston Herald about MacMaster, who picked up her first fiddle at age 9. The niece of famed Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster, she quickly became a talent in her own right, capturing audiences’ attention with her signature bluegrass, folk and contemporary acoustic sounds blended with jazz, rock and even classical music. MacMaster has collaborated with a diverse collection of artists, including master violinist Mark O’Connor, legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma, banjo prodigy Bela Fleck, fellow fiddler Alison Krauss, renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti and celebrated guitarist Carlos Santana, among others. In November 2011, she released her latest album, “Cape Breton Girl,” recorded at Glenn Gould Studios in Toronto. In addition to 11 critically acclaimed albums (which have earned her a Grammy nomination and two Juno Awards), MacMaster also recently released her first book, “Natalie MacMaster’s Cape Breton Aire,” a musical journey through Cape Breton, featuring beautiful landscape images by photographer Eric Roth.

Though she gave birth to her fourth child at the beginning of 2011 (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.”

Joining MacMaster onstage are pianist Mac Morin, drummer J.D. Blair, cellist Nathaniel Smith and bassist John Chiasson.


Tickets for NATALIE MACMASTER are $25, $42, $50. Family Friendly: Youth through grade 12, half price when accompanied by an adult. 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

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. George Mason University – Where Innovation Is Tradition.