Lorin Maazel continues to enjoy a whirlwind career, no matter that he has reached the time in life when many choose to retire. Currently the music director of the Munich Philharmonic, he has held that post with the New York Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra. His international roles include artistic director and principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
When he is not conducting major orchestras worldwide, recording (more than 300) and composing, his passion is mentoring emerging young conductors, instrumentalists and vocalists at his estate in Castleton, Va. There he has established an incomparable residency program that hones the skills of more than 200 musicians, stage directors, costumers and set designers each summer.
Last season, Maazel formed a partnership with George Mason University to present several Castleton Festival concerts in the new Hylton Performing Arts Center's Merchant Hall in Manassas. The first of this season's offerings, "Gershwin and Company: An All-American Evening," takes place Thursday, followed two weeks later by a concert version of Puccini's "La Boheme."
"Our opening show features music by George Gershwin, the greatest American composer," Maazel said. "We love the beautiful venue and its fantastic acoustics. It's a place where one settles in and every performance feels comfortable. We gave 'La Boheme' at Castleton last year. It was so well received that I thought it would be a perfect encore for Merchant Hall."
|'Gershwin and Company: An All-American Evening'|
|Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas|
|When: 8 p.m. Thursday|
|Info: $30 to $60; 888-945-2468; hyltoncenter.org|
Other programs audiences will enjoy at Castleton this summer are festival premieres of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 and Washington-based composer Maximo Flugelman's Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra. There will be a performance of Beethoven's beloved Symphony No. 9, and award-winning violinist Jennifer Koh will play all of Bach's violin solo sonatas and partitas.
"We have invested in quality," Maazel said. "I feed on my fantastic good fortune in this profession and have looked forward to every concert each decade of my life. Next season, I'll be directing the Munich Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic and European ensembles. Of course, I haven't forgotten my love for New York and will spend two weeks there conducting the New York Philharmonic and 'Don Carlo' at the Met. But for now, I'll enjoy being in Virginia and spending time in Rappahannock County, which the natives call God's country."