Center for the Arts Announces 2006-07 Season

Posted: April 11, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Susan Shields
Dance faculty member Susan Shields will bring her “Ballet Cocktail” to the Center for the Arts next season.
Photo by Stephen Baranovics

The inclusion of several local ensembles and artists, as well as an impressive roster of internationally renowned orchestras, dance companies and musicians firmly establishes George Mason’s Center for the Arts (CFA) as a “regional center showcasing the best of the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area,” said Rick Davis, artistic director, at a press conference last week announcing the 2006-07 season of Great Performances at Mason.

Locally, Davis welcomed the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, celebrating its 50th year in 2007. Though the symphony has made CFA its home since 1990, this is the first season the orchestra will perform as part of the center’s subscription series.

Another local artist joining the series is renowned choreographer and Mason faculty member Susan Shields, who has assembled a veritable “Who’s Who” of regional ballet companies from around the United States to perform some of her best-known work, in “Susan Shields Ballet Cocktail.”

Yet another locally-based and internationally acclaimed choreographer taking the stage is Dana Tai Soon Burgess, who will launch the national tour of his acclaimed 2006 work “Images from the Embers” from the CFA’s Fairfax stage.

Newcomers to CFA next season include Fairfax’s highly praised and celebrated composer, arranger and performer Michael Feinstein. He will kick off the season with an evening of popular music from “The Great American Songbook” and more. Feinstein’s performance also inaugurates “Arts, by George,” a new initiative to raise funds for scholarships. In addition to tickets available for the concert alone, specially priced tickets also include student and faculty performances, tours, refreshments and a chance to meet the artist.

International artists and ensembles joining the Global View and Magnificent Music series include the up-and-coming BBC’s National Orchestra of Wales, known for its eclectic programming, on its first international tour.

And one of the area’s favorite conductors, Maestro Lorin Maazel, wields the baton before the accomplished Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, a young orchestra from Italy. The center also welcomes the rich, majestic and traditionally-influenced sounds of the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa.

Davis was eager to point out that CFA values its longstanding relationships with artists and troupes who return to Northern Virginia again and again, saying, “We build each season with an eye on an artful blend of the familiar and the new. Over the years our audiences have developed deep connections with these artists.

“We value our longstanding relationships with such ‘old friends’ as Chanticleer, bringing us a new program celebrating romance and matters of the heart; Jeffrey Siegel’s highly anticipated Keyboard Conversations; the Mark Morris Dance Group, with a program mixing the very musical with choreographic excellence; Virginia Opera, with four exceptional productions; and the wildly popular and entertaining Canadian Brass.”

For upbeat entertainment, Bo Diddley, with GRAMMY winner Alvin Youngblood Hart, will rock CFA in November. And CFA’s own Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra has been steadily building a devoted following among audiences. This season, director Jim Carroll and his ensemble undertake an ambitious journey through America’s love affair with the ‘Big Band Sound.’ Betty Buckley returns with her inspired interpretations of show tunes and more.

Classical programming in the upcoming season will include the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, directed by Riccardo Chailly and welcoming the dynamic young pianist Yundi Li as guest soloist. Opera Verdi Europa, whose singers and musicians hail from the great houses of central Europe, has been praised in previous appearances and will perform “Tosca,” Puccini’s most theatrical opera.

For more information on the season, see the CFA web site.

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