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Austin classical station KMFA celebrates Draylen Mason Studio opening with virtual event

Shamika Wilson, the mother of Draylen Mason, speaks about her son during a KMFA 89.5 event in 2019. The classical music station's new studio is named after Mason, and they're holding a virtual opening celebration.

Austin's classical radio station KMFA 89.5FM has moved into a new East Austin space with a live performance studio that can host up to 135 people, but due to the ongoing pandemic, station managers have opted to host a virtual grand opening celebration called "Live from the Draylen Mason" on Jan. 29-31. 

The Draylen Mason Music Studio, which is the centerpiece of the station's new space, is named after a promising young bassist who died tragically when a package bomb exploded at his house in March 2018. Mason was 17 at the time and many KMFA staffers knew him through his participation in Austin Youth Orchestra and the youth music program Austin Soundwaves.  At the time of his death, Mason had been accepted to several prestigious music schools including The University of Texas' Butler School and the competitive conservatory program at Oberlin.

Three days of performances from the studio which bears his name will kick off with a dedication ceremony. Artist Nikkolas Smith will unveil a commissioned portrait of Mason and lead a presentation for young creatives about what it means to be an "Artivist" (artist plus activist). The evening will also include a performance by violinist Vadim Gluzman and pianist Angela Yoffe. Other performances throughout the weekend include a performance from violinist Anne Akiko Meyers with guitarist Jason Vieaux on Saturday and a Sunday Miró Quartet & Friends concert that will include appearances from pianist Anton Nel, Austin Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Douglas Harvey, and double bassists Utah Hamrick and Joel Braun.

Nightly tickets to access the performances start at $20 with a weekend package available for $54. 

The grand opening celebration will also feature a number of free on-demand presentations from the Austin arts community including classical guitarist Matt Hinsley and poet Amanda Johnston. 

More information is available at kmfa.org