The Center for the Arts at George Mason University announced a 2011-2012 schedule with 50 performances, including the Martha Graham dancers and a multi-media tribute to Miles Davis.
Headlining its annual ARTS by George! fund-raiser, center officials announced Thursday, will be a joint performance by vocalist Michael Feinstein and composer and pianist Marvin Hamlisch. There will be no Broadway or Hollywood song left unsung on Sept. 24 at the benefit for student scholarships. The event has raised half a million dollars in its first five years.
In its 20 years the center has steadily built a reputation for interesting dance programs that include the small and edgy, as well as the established. The Martha Graham Dance Company will perform its evergreen “Appalachian Spring” on October 21. The Moscow Festival Ballet will bring “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella” on April 13 and 14.
Making their center debuts will be the River North Dance Chicago, a contemporary jazz-based troupe now in its 20th year, on Jan. 27; the Complexions Contemporary Ballet on Feb.17 and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet on March 10.
For the 2011-2012 season the center has enlisted five classic and contemporary plays from the Aquila Theatre, the Walnut Street Theatre, the Acting Company and Theater of the First Amendment. In its first appearance at the center on March 2, Walnut Street will present the award-winning play “Proof” by David Auburn.
The musical offerings, described by Tom Reynolds, the center’s director of artistic programming, range from Mariachi to the Mariinsky Orchestra. That orchestra will be conducted Oct. 8 by Valery Gergiev in a program of Tchaikovsky. Alexandre Pirojenko, the prize-winning pianist, will join the St. Petersburg State Orchestra for a Prokofiev program on Feb. 4. And violinist Robert McDuffie will play with the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra.
In programs dedicated to global music the center is presenting the Ballet Folklorico de Antioquia, Columbia on its first U.S. tour on March 3, a center debut from the Kings of Salsa on Oct. 1, a new production March 18 from the Taiko drum ensemble TAO and the award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir on Feb. 19.
The National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China are giving three performances Nov. 18 and 19 in their debut at the center.
The Virginia Opera returns with four new productions. On Feb. 10 and 12 the company will present the Virginia premiere of Philip Glass’s “Orphee,” as well as a staging of Verdi’s “Aida” on Oct. 14 and 16. The company will also do “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Mikado.”
The calendar for the holiday festivities in December is jammed with Mariachi Los Camperos De Nati Cano making a center debut on Dec.18.
Other musical programs include Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdes in his first date at the center on Feb. 3; folk music legend Arlo Guthrie on Feb. 11, Portuguese contraltro Mariza on Nov. 5, the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra on Feb. 25 and pianist Jeffrey Siegel in several appearances.
“The Miles Davis Experience,” a new multi-media production in collaboration with Blue Note Records will be featured Nov. 13. Branford Marsalis’s Quartet appears Oct. 15. And “The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers,” a smash hit in London, comes to the center Feb. 18.