Center for the Arts Welcomes George Winston for ‘The Winter Show’

Posted: December 9, 2009 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: December 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm

George Winston. Photo by Andy Argyrakis

George Winston. Photo by Andy Argyrakis

In the early 1980s, George Winston burst onto the music scene with his iconic impressionist style and a collection of seasonal-themed recordings.

Winston will make his Mason Center for the Arts debut on Friday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. in “The Winter Show.”

Winston grew up in Montana and spent his later formative years in Mississippi and Florida. His early musical influences were instrumental rock and R&B artists, including Floyd Cramer, The Ventures, Booker T and The MG’s and Jimmy Smith.

Inspired by R&B, jazz, blues and rock (especially The Doors), Winston began playing organ in 1967. He switched to the acoustic piano in 1971 after hearing recordings by legendary stride pianists Thomas “Fats” Waller and Teddy Wilson. During this time, Winston also invented his own style of melodic instrumental music on solo piano, which he called “folk piano.”

In 1972, Winston recorded his first solo piano album, “Ballads and Blues 1972.”  Since 1980, he has released nine other solo albums: “Autumn,” “Winter Into Spring,” “December,” “Summer,” “Forest,” “Linus & Lucy – The Music of Vince Guaraldi,” “Plains,” “Night Divides the Day – The Music of the Doors” and “Montana – A Love Story.”

Winston also recently released an album called “Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions – A Hurricane Relief Benefit,” which features original compositions, as well as pieces by renowned New Orleans pianists Henry Butler, James Booker and Dr. John.

In 2001, he also released “Remembrance – A Memorial Benefit,” a six-song CD of piano, guitar and harmonica solos, to benefit those affected by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

His next album will be “Love Will Come – The Music of Vince Guaraldi, Vol. 2,” scheduled to be released in February 2010.

In addition, Winston has composed music for the children’s videos “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,” “Pumpkin Circle” and “Bread Comes to Life.” He also recorded the solo piano soundtrack for an audio recording of the children’s story “The Velveteen Rabbit” for Rabbit Ears Productions.

Currently Winston spends much of his time touring, often playing solo piano, guitar and harmonica. He also studies the techniques of the great New Orleans pianists. In addition, Winston is working on several solo projects, including recording the masters of the Hawaiian Slack Key guitar for an extensive series of albums for Dancing Cat Records; and recording music by his major inspirations for harmonica playing, Sam Hinton, Rick Epping and Curt Bouterse.

George Winston plays Steinway Pianos. For more information on the artist, see www.georgewinston.com.

For this holiday performance, please bring a canned food item, which will be donated to a local Washington, D.C., area food bank. Winston will also donate a portion of the artist’s proceeds from his CD sales to the food bank.

A discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

Tickets are $42, $34 and $21. Tickets are half price for youth through grade 12 when they are accompanied by an adult. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.gmu.edu/cfa.

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