January & February Events Announced At The Center For The Arts At George Mason University

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January & February Events Announced At The Center For The Arts At George Mason University

The Center for the Arts at George Mason University continues the 2019/20 Great Performances at Mason season this January and February with innovative dance programs-including a world premiere co-commission, stirring classical music, and the return of Virginia Opera, in addition to signature events from Mason's College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet returns January 25 with Figures of Speech, a daring evening-length work drawing inspiration from poet and activist Bob Holman's research from the Endangered Language Alliance, set to an original soundscape designed by Alexander MacSween. The following evening, Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel returns with Commemorating Rachmaninoff and Debussy, in which audiences will hear some of the most famous works by these two popular composers.

Leading off February, Mason Artist-in-Residence Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company presents the world premiere of What Problem?, an examination of group identity and its relationship to aloneness. What Problem? is a co-commission by the Center for the Arts and will feature Bill T. Jones in performance, along with members of the company and local participants from Northern Virginia, who have been selected by Bill T. Jones for the Center for the Arts performance. The company will be in residence for a week, taking additional time to tech What Problem?, conduct a masterclass and hold a community event. More details surrounding the residency will be announced at a later date.

Gioachino Rossini's most beloved comedic opera Cinderella (La Cenerentola) is presented by Virginia Opera, February 15 and 16, in a family-friendly production of the classic tale directed by Kyle Lang. The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine celebrates their Jubilee 100th concert season with a concert featuring cellist Natalia Khoma, February 22. The following weekend, NPR's From the Top records a live broadcast from the Center featuring some of America's best pre-collegiate, classically-trained musicians, with guest hosts and piano duo Anderson and Roe.

A full schedule of performances for January and February is below. Unless otherwise noted, performances will take place at the Center for the Arts located at 4373 Mason Pond Drive in Fairfax, VA. Tickets are available for purchase in person at the Center for the Arts Ticket Office (open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), by calling 703-993-2787, or through the Center for the Arts' website.

The Great Performances at Mason Series brings some of the finest artists from around the country and the world to the Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Northern Virginia:

Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Figures of Speech
Saturday, January 25 at 8 p.m.
$48, $41, $29

Since 1982, visionary choreographer Alonzo King has been redefining contemporary ballet by creating daring new works that marry the science of artistic movement with the beauty of other art forms. In his latest collaboration, Figures of Speech, King addresses the fact that languages of the world are vanishing at an alarming rate, and draws on the research of poet and activist Bob Holman, pioneer in the slam poetry movement and co-founder of the Endangered Language Alliance. His expressive choreography takes inspiration from a soundtrack of poetry recited by native speakers of languages nearing extinction and music played on traditional instruments. The movement interprets this soundscape, created by composer and sound designer Alexander MacSween, which is ethereal, alien, primal, and elegant. The San Francisco Chronicle proclaimed, "The finale, an unbreakable chain of 10 bodies, strong and sculptural, is a stunner."

Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel

Commemorating Rachmaninoff and Debussy
Sunday, January 26 at 7 p.m.
$44, $37, $26. Family Friendly.

Virtuoso pianist and storyteller extraordinaire Jeffrey Siegel is popular with classical music lovers and newcomers alike with his unique "concerts with commentary" format. Hear some of the most famous works by these two popular composers who have recently had anniversary celebrations in the musical world: the 100th anniversary of the death of Debussy and the 75th of Rachmaninoff. In this program, Siegel plays Debussy's Clair de Lune and Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp minor as well as colorful Preludes by both composers. "An exquisite performance...superb music making. This was an achievement of a sort seldom heard" (The New York Times). An interactive Question and Answer session will conclude this program.

Mason Artist-in-Residence
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company
What Problem?

World premiere co-commission
Saturday, February 1 at 8 p.m.
$48, $41, $29

In this world premiere, co-commissioned by the Center for the Arts, Bill T. Jones examines group identity and its relationship to aloneness set to spoken word and live music. What Problem? includes three thought-provoking sections: Jones in solo performance; Jones alongside members of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company; and, in conclusion, Jones and the company onstage with participants from the greater Northern Virginia community. For more than 35 years, the landmark Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company has revolutionized modern dance while exploring issues of identity through social commentary. Lauded as a groundbreaking leader in modern dance, Bill T. Jones is the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, MacArthur Genius Award, Kennedy Center Honors Award, and multiple Tony Awards. Witness this new project in its official debut performance at the Center.

What Problem? is co-commissioned by the Center for the Arts at George Mason University and is funded in part by ARTSFAIRFAX.

Virginia Opera

Saturday, February 15 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 16 at 2 p.m.
$110, $70, $40

Gioachino Rossini's Cinderella (La Cenerentola) is one of his funniest and best-known comic operas. Following on his success of The Barber of Seville, Rossini and librettist Jacopo Ferretti worked day and night to create this opera in just three weeks. The story differs somewhat from the classic fairytale: there is no fairy godmother, magic pumpkin, or even a glass slipper! Even so, this enchanting tale delivers with all of the glimmering splendor, the comic characters, and the happy ending, of course. Best of all, it includes Rossini's effervescent score with the epic orchestral storm before the Prince finally finds Cenerentola, and the arias "Miei rampolli femminini," and "Nacqui all' affanno...Non piu mesta." Virginia Opera's production celebrates this classic tale with unforgettable performances while making this charming story new again for our audiences. Directed by Kyle Lang. Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine

Volodymr Sirenko, conductor
Natalia Khoma, cello
Saturday, February 22 at 8 p.m.
$60, $51, $36

Lyatoshynsky: Grazhyna, Op. 58
Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme, for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 33
Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39

Celebrating their Jubilee 100th concert season, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (NSOU) presents a concert of Eastern European delights, including a showpiece for cello by Tchaikovsky, Sibelius' first symphony which displays his unique Nordic style as well as his admiration for Tchaikovsky, and Ukrainian composer Borys Lyatoshynsky's symphonic ballade composed as a tribute to the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz on the centenary of his death. Considered one of the finest symphony orchestras in Eastern Europe, NSOU has achieved international recognition with its extensive touring schedule and more than 100 acclaimed recordings, including Lyatoshynsky's Symphonies No. 2 and No. 3 named The Best Recording of the Year by the Australian Broadcasting Company. Under the direction of Volodymyr Sirenko, the orchestra is joined by world-renowned cellist Natalia Khoma, known for her "soaring, penetrating sound" (State News) as the featured soloist. "This is an orchestra with many virtues. Its strings can conjure up a vibrant songfulness; the woodwinds have a fruity, penetrating ripeness; the brass could endanger the walls of Jericho; the percussion might wake the dead..." (The Sydney Morning Herald).

NPR's From the Top

Hosted by Anderson and Roe
Saturday, February 29 at 8 p.m.
$48, $41, $29. Family Friendly.

Attend a live recording of this popular NPR radio show, featuring the acclaimed piano duo Anderson and Roe as guest hosts. From the Top celebrates the stories, talents, and character of America's best pre-collegiate classically-trained musicians. It began as an experiment in 2000 and quickly grew to become the most popular weekly one-hour classical music program on public radio. It delights both seasoned classical listeners and new classical music fans alike. With a mission to empower young musicians and inspire music lovers, From the Top showcases the extraordinary gifts and stories of the young musicians. Guest hosts Greg Anderson (a From the Top alum himself) and Elizabeth Joy Roe will emcee the program and perform alongside the young artists. Following the performances, the featured young artists discuss balancing their musical passions and dedication to their craft around school, hobbies and full family schedules. From the Top records before live audiences across the country on more than 220 stations nationwide to an audience of more than half a million listeners. Locally, it airs Sundays on WETA 90.9 FM at 6 p.m. Don't miss the unique opportunity to witness this delightful musical experience live.

Mason Student and Faculty Performances & Events

Mason School of Theater
Celebrating the Great American Songbook!
The Mason Cabaret in Concert

Directed by James Gardiner & Erin Gardiner
Accompaniment by Joe Walsh
Harris Theatre
Friday, January 31 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 1 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, February 1 at 8 p.m.
$30 General Public; $15 students, staff, seniors and groups

A perennial favorite, our Musical Theater ambassadors, the Mason Cabaret, return with a fresh line-up of stellar vocalists offering showstoppers, ballads and duets, delving into the music of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, and many more. This "Fun-raiser" supports the Musical Theater program at Mason and will have you dancing in your seats and humming all the way home!

Mason School of Music
Wind Symphony & Symphonic Band Concert

Tuesday, February 25 at 8 p.m.
$12 adults; $8 seniors; $5 youth through grade 12

The George Mason University Wind Symphony, led by composer-conductor Mark Camphouse is a select ensemble comprised of outstanding wind, brass, and percussion players in the School of Music and the University. The ensemble's mission is to study and perform the best literature available for wind band, while emphasizing soloistic and orchestral performance practice. The Wind Symphony ranks among the finest collegiate wind bands in the Commonwealth and performs the best of new band literature. Programs include world premieres of student and faculty compositions, student and faculty soloists, and more traditional repertoire.

Mason School of Music
Mason Jazz Festival

Harris Theatre
Saturday, February 29 beginning at 10 a.m.
Featuring United States Air Force Airmen of Note at 7 p.m.

The Mason Jazz Festival is an invitational event open to middle school, high school, collegiate and community Jazz ensembles. Sponsored by Mason Jazz Studies, National Jazz Workshop and the Jazz Education Network, participating groups will perform a 20-30 minute set, followed by a clinic by Mason Jazz faculty and special guests. The participation fee is $200 per ensemble and spots are limited. Closing festival performance will be the United States Air Force, Airmen of Note at 7pm in Harris Theatre. All performances are FREE and open to the public - no tickets or registration required. This festival will include (3) "Outstanding Soloist" (cash prizes) and (4) "Best Section" awards as well as scholarships to the National Jazz Workshop summer camp at Mason.

Other Programming at the Center for the Arts

Shen Yun

Thursday, January 16 at 2 p.m.
Friday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 18 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 19 at 2 p.m.
Prices starting at $80

Shen Yun's unique artistic vision expands theatrical experience into a multi-dimensional, inspiring journey through one of humanity's greatest treasures-the five millennia of traditional Chinese culture. This epic production immerses you in stories reaching back to the most distant past. You'll explore realms even beyond our visible world. Featuring one of the world's oldest art forms- classical Chinese dance-along with patented scenographic effects and all-original orchestral works, Shen Yun opens a portal to a civilization of enchanting beauty and enlightening wisdom. Traditional Chinese culture-with its profoundly optimistic worldview and deep spiritual roots- was displaced by communism in China. Today, only the New York-based Shen Yun is keeping this precious heritage alive on stage. And it's an experience that will take your breath away.

TheatreWorks USA
Rosie Revere, Engineer

Monday, February 3 at 10:30 a.m.

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
The Four Seasons

Saturday, February 8 at 8 p.m.
Prices begin at $25; $15 for students

Simone Porter, violin
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Piazzolla: Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

Violinist Simone Porter is the virtuoso soloist in Vivaldi's dazzlingly imaginative evocation of the sights, sounds and sensations of the Italian seasons. The Four Seasons violin concertos are so richly detailed you can feel the sirocco of summer, hear the dancing villagers of Autumn and slip on the ice of a Venetian winter. The master of the New Tango, Ástor Piazzolla, brought the wild dance of Buenos Aires into the concert hall. There's an apt nod to Vivaldi in Leonid Desyatnikov's sensational string arrangements of the Estaciones Porteñas, but they have an atmosphere that's unique to Buenos Aires - fiercely sensual in summer, hazy and melancholic in winter, all moving to the heartbeat of the tango. Vivaldi's seasons enfold Piazzolla's in this dance around the year. "Simone Porter is quite simply marvelous and reminded me of the young Yehudi Menuhin - the same kind of remarkable golden tones and vibrant smoothness, the huge sound, the sense that any technical virtuoso challenges are a figment of the imagination..." (Edmonton Journal)

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