Press Room

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October 9, 2003
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, November 1, 2003, 8:00PM
Simon, with a lifetime of virtuosity, steps in to replace Byron Janis
originally scheduled for this date

Fairfax, Virginia, October 8, 2003Rick Davis, artistic director of George Mason University’s Center for the Arts announces the engagement of celebrated concert pianist Abbey Simon(click here for more info on ABBEY SIMON) on November 1, 2003 at 8PM. Simon, is a logical replacement for the ailing Byron Janis who was originally scheduled to play that date, says Davis, and, he continues, "Abbey Simon has amassed a staggering Chopin discography—we are delighted to welcome him to the Center for the Arts secure in the knowledge that those patrons who were looking forward to hearing Chopin will not be disappointed." The program includes the tender Chopin Sonata in B Minor and Nocturne in F-sharp Major, Op. 58; the popular half-hour long Horowitz specialty, Robert Schumann’s Kreisleriana, Op. 16, and Schumann’s Arabesque. A 7:15PM pre-performance artistic discussion is held prior to the performance on the hall’s Grand Tier.

Consistently praised for his "…dauntless but never redundant technical display…" (the Chicago Tribune) Abbey Simon began his major musical training at the Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute under Joseph Hofmann when he was just eleven years old, winning the coveted Walter W. Naumberg award at age 18. The Naumberg Award includes a Town Hall (New York City) debut, which Simon quickly followed with recitals at Carnegie Hall and extensive tours throughout the United States and Canada, garnering high praise for the young musician. He interrupted his brilliant career only for enlistment in the United States army during World War II.

Its captivating melodies and emotional richness are the basis of the appeal of Robert Schumann's Kreisleriana, based on a novel written by E.T.A. Hoffman. Hoffman's influence cast a long shadow over the imagination of many artists–musical and literary–prompting Offenbach to immortalize this larger-than-life personality in his operatic masterpiece "Tales of Hoffman."
A cycle of eight "Fantasias" creates the diverse mood of Kreisleriana. Writing about the piece to Clara, Schumann enthused: "My music now seems even to me to be so wonderfully intricate in spite of all the simplicity, so eloquent and from the heart. And that's the way it affects everyone for whom I play it." Behind these high-spirited words, Schumann also acknowledged that the work conveyed much pain and sorrow.

Chopin, who often rubbed elbows with the "beautiful people" of his time including Victor Hugo, Eugene Delacroix and Mme. George Sand, composed some of the world’s most evocative music, including his charms of the Romantic Period, the Nocturnes. Abbey Simon takes a poetic approach to these hymns to the romance of the night, as well as Chopin’s Sonata in B minor.

Abbey Simon has appeared with most of America’s major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Symphony, The Boston Philharmonic, and many others, his artistry described as "recalling the days of Hofmann, Godowsky and Rachmaninoff" (the San Francisco Examiner). In addition to the works of Ravel and an impressive catalog of classics and masterworks, including the complete Rachmaninoff Concerti, Simon’s highly praised Chopin discography includes scherzi, ballades, all the waltzes, nocturnes and concerti.

Tickets for ABBEY SIMON, Saturday, November 1, 8PM are $35, $27, $17.50. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 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

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. 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.