News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
The Castleton Festival comes to the Hylton Performing Arts Center
BY JESSE SCOTT
FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR
A farm and an orchestra typically don’t belong in the same sentence.
Unless, of course, it involves the Castleton Festival Orchestra.
For a second straight year the Castleton Festival Orchestra, composed of young musicians from across the United States and globe, will venture from its farm-based performance confines in Rappahannock County to the Hylton Performing Arts Center on George Mason University’s Prince William campus in Manassas.
The group will perform two exclusive shows at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on Thursday, June 28, and Saturday, July 7.
“Twenty-four years ago, I bought a little piece of property with my husband and eventually it grew into our festival,” said Dietlinde Turban Maazel, co-founder of The Castleton Festival and wife of the world-renowned conductor, Lorin Maazel. “We are a training ground for young, budding talent and are so proud of what we have become.”
The Castleton Festival comprises young orchestral musicians who, in years past, have come from the Royal College of London, universities in Turkey and seemingly every nook of America. Since 2009, these musicians have converged on a small farm, just 20 miles north of Culpeper, for weeks of formal training, public recitals and dedicated collaboration.
At the reins of the program is Maestro Lorin Maazel. Over the last 50-plus years, Maestro Maazel has directed the New York Philharmonic and, later this year, will assume the position of music director of the Munich Philharmonic. In between high-profile events, Maestro Maazel always finds time to give back to the next generation of musicians on his farm.
“We’re out in the middle of nowhere with a beautiful rolling countryside on the farm,” said Turban Maazel. “Our students eat and live together and really focus on what they are doing without the distractions of a big city.”
Each year, the artists’ training culminates with the Castleton Festival, a month-long marathon of opera performances and concerts. Recently, the Castleton Festival joined forces with George Mason University to offer urban audiences a peek into its rural utopia.
“We are so happy to partner with George Mason for another summer,” said Turban Maazel. “The Hylton [Performing Arts] Center is such a magnificent space we were stunned ourselves the first time we saw it.”
For the June 28 performance, Chicago piano extraordinaire Kevin Cole will join the orchestra for “Gershwin and Company: An All-American Evening.” The concert will feature work from famed American pianist George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
“I don’t know why, but when I play [Gershwin’s] music, the music just speaks to me,” said Cole, whose upbeat interpretation of Gershwin’s work has wowed audiences worldwide. “There is something about being at that piano, where I get a certain energy and a certain attitude I am able to capture his magnetic personality.”
In addition to performing with a talented group of students, Cole is excited to collaborate once again with Maestro Maazel.
“The Maestro has been a hero of mine for many years,” said Cole. “It was an honor for me to meet him last summer and perform under his conducting. For him to request me again this summer, it makes me feel very special. It is quite an experience to work with him he pulls music out of young musicians like no one else.”
Jesse Scott is a freelance writer and Fredericksburg native. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.