Maazel’s festival is put on hold

Maazel’s festival is put on hold


norman lebrecht

January 21, 2016

The Castleton Festival, founded on his own Virginia estate by the late Lorin Maazel, has been suspended. This year’s event will not take place while the conductor’s widow, Dietlinde, takes stock and decides whether it has a future.

At the moment, there isn’t the money.

lorin maazel castleton

Lorin, at his last festival


Here’s Dietlinde’s open letter:

Dear Friends of the Festival,

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you about some major adjustments to the offerings of the Castleton Festival for the Summer 2016. Despite every attempt to adapt our budget to continuous financial challenges while trying to preserve the excellence of our performances and training program, we have come to realize that it is the right moment to pause, regroup and work toward a solid future.

In 2015, we were humbled by the outpouring of support from our community through donors and patrons like you. This allowed us to mount an extremely well received 2015 season, which celebrated the life of the Festival’s founder and largest supporter, Maestro Lorin Maazel. From the Castleton Artists Training Seminar and a highly successful orchestra under the baton of Principal Conductor Rafael Payare, to world premieres, board leadership and new partnerships, all aspects of Castleton pulled together to further Lorin’s legacy going forward. This summer we celebrated yet another milestone as our live-streamed performances reached over 1,000,000 viewers in over 100 countries around the world.

With your support, we were inspired to move forward with the planning of a brilliant 2016 season, which when announced this past Fall, was again received with your enthusiasm and generosity. However, as time went on  we found that availability of financial support was not sufficient enough for us to proceed, even with a modified model of a shorter, inspiring integrative arts festival with the inclusion of Wynton Marsalis’ Summer Jazz Academy.

Your support and generosity has not been in vain nor will it be forgotten. We will continue to host our Castleton in Performance series throughout the summer and beyond, and the ongoing Educational Outreach programming will carry on our mission of nurturing the arts in the lives of children. With an increased focus on education and outreach, we are revisiting our roots and renewing our emphasis on the original mission of nurturing young talents and fostering the arts through integrative mentoring, world-class performances and the building of communities. And as we continue to refine that mission, it is clear that we need time to take stock, strategize and ensure the evolution and growth of the Festival so that Lorin’s vision doesn’t merely survive, but has the roots and strength to blossom for many years to come.

In that spirit, it is our hope that we can count on your ongoing support. I am sure you will agree that classical music can make our kids smarter, ignite hope, strengthen self-esteem, and provide respite from a stressful world.

Please join us in creating a new sustainable future for the Festival!

With my sincere gratitude,




  • Don Ciccio says:

    Sorry to hear that. I did attend events at the festival in the past.

  • Doug says:

    Not the finest legacy that your festival dies when you die.

  • Richard says:

    Really too bad. Goes to show its not enough to have a musical vision unless you can Impart on others. We see when forces of nature like Maazel pass that in the hands of mere mortals things can wither. I don’t blame the widow for not wanting all the money to evaporate for nothing with this festival, and no prospect for someone else to pick up the reigns. Really too bad but at the least it should make us appreciate Lorin all the more…

    • John says:

      I guess we can blame Maazel for dying after only a few years of his festival. It’s kind of hard to create that kind of sustainability in that short a time. I applaud his efforts, and those of his supporters.