Austria's Vienna String Sextet will perform at George Mason University next month as part of the university's third annual International Arts Festival.

The sextet, members of the Vienna Symphony, will play Feb. 8 at the Harris Theatre. Its program will include a sextet by Bocherini, a quintet by Dvorak and, in keeping with its reputation as representatives of the more adventurous of the two major Viennese orchestras, Schoenberg's "Transfigured Night."

Festival director Stephen Burton said that it is "an extraordinary experience" hearing Schoenberg's original transcription performed by a group from Vienna. "Having heard all that Viennese repertoire {in Vienna} as a student 20 years ago, they certainly have their own way of playing it," he said.

The series begins Feb. 7 with an afternoon of songs from operas, operettas and the musical theater, featuring three singers from the Washington Opera. Conductor and pianist Randolph Mauldin will lead mezzo-soprano Gloria Parker, tenor Marcus Haddock and baritone Gordon Hawkins, all of whom appear through Feb. 6 in the Washington Opera production of "L'Italiana in Algeri" at the Kennedy Center.

Hawkins, a Maryland University graduate gaining prominence in the Washington music community, performed under Mauldin's baton in the first all-black performances of "Porgy and Bess" in Australia, sponsored by the Spoleto Festival.

The Washington Opera is in its third year with the festival. "It's become sort of a tradition," Mauldin said. Burton agreed, noting the popularity of the informal setting, with commentary throughout by Mauldin and a question-and-answer period after the concert.

The International Arts Festival, which is underwritten in large part by the university, began four years ago. The festival was founded the following year to provide a lasting forum for world class performing arts at the university. All events will be held at the 500-seat Harris Theatre.

Feb. 13, Leonard Pennario, one-third of one of the great piano trios of the century, will perform a monumental program for solo piano.

The Tyrone Guthrie Theatre will bring its touring production of "Frankenstein" to the festival Feb. 15, followed by performances by flutist Gary Schocker March 6, violinist Benny Kim April 25, and harpist DeWayne Fulton May 3.