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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCES 2012-2013 GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON SEASON

April 12, 2012
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

ANNOUNCES

2012-2013 SEASON OF GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON 

Featuring 

  • Two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway soprano Sutton Foster at ARTS by George!
  • The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble
  • Dr. John & The Lower 911 Band and The Blind Boys of Alabama with “Spirituals to Funk”
  • The Virginia Opera with four breathtaking operas: “The Pearl Fishers,” “Die Fledermaus,” “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Marriage of Figaro”
  • Legendary choreographer and tap dancer Savion Glover with “Sole Sanctuary"
  • The world-renowned Mark Morris Dance Group with “The Office” and “Festival Dance”
  • Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo with a hilarious twist on classical ballet
  • Andalucian guitarist Paco Peña and dancers with “Flamenco Vivo”
  • The Shaolin Warriors of China with “Voices of the Masters”
  • Les 7 Doigts de la Main with its surrealistic exploration of the human psyche, “PSY”
  • Turtle Island Quartet with master fiddler and Cajun music extraordinaire Michael Doucet performing “Louisiana Story”
  • The Acting Company with John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”
  • The 20th anniversary season of Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel at the Center
  • And much, much more!

 

FAIRFAX, Va., April 12, 2012 – George Mason University’s Center for the Arts announced its 2012-2013 Great Performances at Mason season, featuring more than 50 diverse performances by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists from across the globe. This season’s artists and ensembles come to Fairfax from the bright lights of Broadway, intimate pubs in Ireland, the streets of Havana, the Big Easy, the heart of the African continent, the temples of China and beyond. The new season was announced at a press conference at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Mason’s Fairfax Campus on Thursday, April 12. The Great Performances at Mason season comprises nine performing arts series, beginning in September 2012 and continuing on through May 2013.

            “I’m thrilled to reveal a fantastic season of performances with a range of extraordinarily diverse offerings: from The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble to The Blind Boys of Alabama, from the Russian National Ballet Theatre to Savion Glover to Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, and everything in between,” 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 favor the classics, as well as those who enjoy more contemporary and popular performances.” Members of the media, donors, sponsors, Mason staff and faculty of the College of Visual and Performing Arts gathered together to hear Reynolds announce the exciting collection of artists and ensembles appearing at the Center for the Arts in 2012-2013.

            “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,” said William Reeder, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University. “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.” Reeder recognized the 2012-2013 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 being the cultural hub of Fairfax County and for cultivating the thriving 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 education and 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) kicks off the performance season with its 7th annual ARTS by George! on Saturday, Sept. 29. This eagerly anticipated benefit event supports CVPA 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 Great Performances at Mason season. This dazzling evening begins with a multidisciplinary showcase of the extraordinary talents of CVPA students and faculty amid a bountiful array of sumptuous buffets and beverages. The evening culminates in the Concert Hall with a stellar performance by luminous Broadway ingénue and two-time Tony Award winner

Sutton Foster, the star of “Anything Goes,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Shrek: The Musical.” This unforgettable evening features this radiant actress, singer and dancer performing showstoppers and ballads that showcase her powerful soprano, fantastic footwork and dazzling stage presence.

 

CAPTIVATING CONTEMPORY, CLASSICAL AND GLOBAL DANCE

            One of the premier destinations for dance in the greater Washington, D.C. area, the Center announced a Dynamic Dance series featuring riveting modern dance, two stunning ballet ensembles, mesmerizing global dance and the nonpareil of the popular dance world. Revered choreographer and tap dancer Savion Glover honors dance legends Sammy Davis Jr., Jimmy Slyde, Gregory Hines and others with “Sole Sanctuary,” showcasing this exceptional artist’s thundering footwork and unmatched technique. Featuring two of Mason’s School of Dance alums, the world-renowned Mark Morris Dance Group returns with an elegant program that features such works as “The Office” and “Festival Dance.” RIOULT (pronounced ree-you), founded by former Martha Graham dancer Pascal Rioult, brings enchanting dance set to classical works by such composers as Bach, Ravel, Stravinsky and Mozart. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, or “The Trocks” as the ensemble is often known, bring a hysterical twist on beautiful classical ballet featuring hilarious wit, frilly tutus and giant toe shoes. The Russian National Ballet Theatre brings two traditional classical ballets to Fairfax with luminous productions of “Giselle” and “Swan Lake.” Dedicated to bringing diverse artists from across the globe to Northern Virginia, the Center also presents Ballet Revolución, a dynamic fusion of ballet, hip-hop and contemporary Latin dance set to a spicy blend of Cuban music, modern Latin American sounds and R&B hits.

  

CELEBRATED CLASSICAL MUSIC ARTISTS AND ENSEMBLES

            The Center announced a superb Magnificent Music series featuring a collection of marvelous orchestras, ensembles and performers. The world-renowned Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble performs Brahms’ String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Shostakovich’s Prelude and Scherzo for String Octet and Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings in Eb major. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the American Symphony Orchestra appears under the baton of longtime Music Director Leon Botstein, performing Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 in G minor and Stravinsky’s “Firebird” Suite. Chanticleer brings its elegant and majestic holiday concert, “A Chanticleer Christmas,” featuring ancient hymns, venerated sacred works, traditional European and American carols, and delightful holiday favorites. Under the baton of En Shao, the China National Symphony Orchestra performs the opening movement to Guan Xia’s “Requiem for the Earth” in remembrance of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2, while celebrated violinist Xi Chen joins the orchestra on Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor. Hailing from the birthplace of arguably the world’s most famous composer, Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, under the baton of Stefan Blunier, brings an all-Beethoven program that features Symphony No. 7 in A major and acclaimed Beethoven interpreter Louis Lortie performing Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major.

  

MESMERIZING MUSIC AND DANCE FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE

            Each season, the Center for the Arts takes audiences on a voyage to exotic locales across the globe through its popular Global View series. This year’s series begins with the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi, showcasing thunderous percussive rhythms and vibrant movements that have been passed down from father to son throughout the generations in this tiny Central African country. Direct from Beijing, the National Circus of the People’s Republic of China presents an exciting program showcasing juggling, contortions, flying trapeze and more. One of China’s most respected circus troupes, the company brings “Cirque Chinois,” featuring jaw-dropping feats and spellbinding entertainment. Also celebrated throughout China are the Shaolin Warriors, who are recognized for their incredible discipline and ferocious martial arts prowess, and who began training at a young age to master the remarkable feats that leave audiences awestruck. The Black Watch and the Band of the Scots Guards: The Pipes, Drummers and Highland Dancers of the 1st Battalion make years of British military tradition and history come alive with the distinctive sounds of bagpipes and brass, high-spirited Scottish sword dances and regimental marching. Andalucian guitar phenom Paco Peña takes audiences on a musical journey from flamenco’s most primitive forms to its highest levels, demonstrating the rhythmic complexities of its latest variations. Grammy-nominated Celtic powerhouse Natalie MacMaster brings a spectacular St. Patrick’s Day celebration featuring her fierce fiddling prowess, energetic step-dancing and her signature sound that combines Celtic, bluegrass and folk with jazz, rock and even classical music. Montreal-based circus and acrobatic troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main (“the seven fingers of the hand”) delves into the surrealistic underworld of the human psyche with “PSY,” a unique performance that travels through a landscape of distorted visions, vanishing dreams and jumbled memories as the artists overcome insurmountable challenges through mind-blowing feats. The 2012-2013 Global View series is sponsored by HSBC Bank.

 

SOUNDS OF THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE

            This year’s American Echoes series brings sounds from Bourbon Street to the Bayou with three performances honoring the rich musical heritage of the Deep South. The living embodiment of New Orleans music, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dr. John & The Lower 911 Band join forces with Grammy Award-winning and Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees The Blind Boys of Alabama for “Spirituals to Funk,” a rousing night of jazz, blues and gospel music based on the legendary Carnegie Hall concerts of the 1930s. Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra brings a festive Big Easy celebration with “Mardi Gras with the MJO,” showcasing these incredible musicians performing swingin’ New Orleans big band tunes. The Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet, the world’s preeminent cross-genre string quartet, joins forces with master fiddler Michael Doucet to explore the myriad faces of the quintessentially American genre that is Cajun music with “Louisiana Story.” This year’s American Echoes series also features two performances by the talented musicians of the American Festival Pops Orchestra under the baton of Anthony Maiello, with a dazzling Christmas program titled “Holiday Pops,” featuring classic Christmas carols, holiday tunes and other seasonal melodies. AFPO also returns in the spring with a delightful performance featuring the best of Broadway and the silver screen, as well as patriotic anthems honoring our armed forces.

 

FROM THE PAGE TO THE STAGE

            The Center for the Arts presents an Enthralling Theater series featuring five theatrical productions of the greatest works in the literary canon. British-American touring troupe Aquila Theatre brings Shakespeare’s beloved comedy and a classic battle for power between the sexes with “The Taming of the Shrew.” This esteemed ensemble returns later in the season with Edmond Rostand’s classic tale of unrequited love and the brilliant swordsman and poet with the enormous nose, “Cyrano de Bergerac.” America’s premier radio theater company, L.A. Theatre Works, celebrates the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s masterpiece, “Pride and Prejudice,” a cherished story that navigates through the intricacies of marriage, manners and morals among polite British society. Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, the critically acclaimed touring company from America’s oldest continuously operating theater, performs Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” an epic tale filled with exotic locales, narrow escapes, death-defying adventure and extreme excitement. Tony Award-winning ensemble The Acting Company brings John Steinbeck’s tragic tale of two migrant workers in California during the Great Depression with “Of Mice and Men.” 

 

THE VIRGINIA OPERA

            Fresh off its much-lauded 2011-2012 season, the Virginia Opera returns with a 2012-2013 season that continues its commitment to expand its repertory and introduce new musical and dramatic experiences to its audiences and company. The Virginia Opera kicks off the new season with the company premiere of Bizet’s gripping tale of friendship, jealousy, loyalty, love and religious duty, “The Pearl Fishers.” This captivating opera set in an ancient fishing village tells the tale of two pearl fisherman whose friendship is threatened when they both fall in love with a mysterious woman. The Virginia Opera also performs Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus,” a provocative work poking fun at the indulgent 19th century Viennese society, filled with mistaken identities, practical jokes, elegant frivolities, intoxicating revelry and plenty of freely flowing champagne. Committed to introducing American works into its repertoire, the Virginia Opera presents André Previn’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Based on Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, this heartbreaking story is enhanced by Previn’s expressive and riveting score. The Virginia Opera’s season concludes in the spring with one of the most popular operas of all time, “The Marriage of Figaro.” Mozart’s delightful opera buffa finds the beloved characters from “The Barber of Seville” swept up in madcap mayhem as the clever Figaro attempts to make the beautiful Susanna his bride.

 

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF KEYBOARD CONVERSATIONS ® WITH JEFFREY SIEGEL

            A cherished institution at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, Jeffrey Siegel returns in 2012-2013 with a dazzling program celebrating 20 years of Keyboard Conversations® at the Center. This excellent “concerts with commentary” series features this virtuoso pianist providing witty and illuminating insight into the lives and music of the most prolific composers the world has ever known before performing their works. Siegel kicks off this season with “Spellbinding Bach,” a thrilling program honoring the grand master of Baroque music, Johann Sebastian Bach. With “Claude Debussy – Clair de Lune and Beyond,” Siegel delves into the aural delights of this renowned French composer whose dreamy, beautiful music evokes vivid and sensuous imagery. In his third concert of the season, Siegel brings “Schubert in the Age of the Sound-Byte,” which examines how this gifted composer’s irresistible lyric dramas in tones fit in with today’s limited attention span. Siegel concludes his 20th anniversary season with “Listen to the Dance,” a stellar evening of music spotlighting the brilliance of the world’s great composers who have used the dance idiom to create gorgeous music. The 2012-2013 Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel series is sponsored by Steinway Piano Gallery of Washington, D.C.

 

SEASONS GREETINGS FROM FAIRFAX

            The Center for the Arts rings in the holiday season with joyous sounds from a diverse and exciting collection of artists. A glorious Thanksgiving weekend tradition in Fairfax, the illustrious male vocal ensemble known as Chanticleer brings its elegant and majestic concert, “A Chanticleer Christmas,” featuring ancient hymns, venerated sacred works, traditional European and American carols, and heartwarming holiday favorites. Hailing from County Waterford in Ireland, Celtic band Danú presents “Christmas in Ireland: An Nollaig in Éirinn,” featuring spirited traditional Irish songs and Christmas carols spanning many centuries. Appealing to young and old alike, five-man a cappella powerhouse Rockapella performs “A Rockapella Holiday,” a funky and soulful music spectacular celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. The celestial voices of the Vienna Boys Choir evoke the joy and magic of the holiday season with the choir’s popular “Christmas in Vienna” concert. Known as Spain’s “Royal Family of the Guitar,” The Romeros join forces with acclaimed Spanish string ensemble Concerto Málaga for an evening of exquisite and sophisticated Christmas music. Celtic family band Leahy performs “A Leahy Family Christmas,” featuring Celtic melodies and treasured Christmas carols that showcase the band’s mastery of the fiddle, ferocious step-dancing and effervescent spirit. Under the baton of Anthony Maiello, Northern Virginia’s own American Festival Pops Orchestra comes home for the holidays with a festive “Holiday Pops” program of classic Christmas carols, holiday tunes and seasonal melodies everyone knows and loves.

 

Subscriptions to Great Performances at Mason are available now and single tickets go on sale on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. 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

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.