New Independent Nonprofit, Formation of Board of Directors, Grants Secure Castleton Festival’s Future

The Castleton Festival Celebrates its Fifth Season: July 3-28, 2013
Announces New Independent Nonprofit, Formation of Board of Directors, Grants to Secure Festival’s Future in DC Region’s Art Scene
Festival Founded by Maazels Expands Opportunities for Young Artists, Audiences
June 25, 2013, Castleton, VA – As the Castleton Festival (July 3-28) prepares performances to honor the birthdays of great artists Giuseppe Verdi and Benjamin Britten, artistic directors Lorin Maazel and Dietlinde Turban Maazel are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Festival they founded by securing its future. Between establishing an independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, receiving national and regional grants, forming a board of directors, securing artistic directors and implementing new initiatives to attract young audiences, the Castleton Festival will continue offering its one-of-a-kind experience to the Washington, DC arts scene.
Another fifth anniversary gift to the Festival arrived unannounced: in March 2013, the Virginia Department of Transportation installed blue directional signage along Route 211 and throughout Rappahannock County showing visitors the most direct way to the Castleton Festival’s box office and main performance venues.
Established in 2009, the Castleton Festival won audiences and accolades in its first year with performances of Britten chamber operas, recitals and concerts held in both an air-conditioned tent and the Maazels’ custom-built Theatre House, constructed on the foundation of a former chicken coop. Since then, the Festival has opened its second permanent venue: a 648-seat air- conditioned proscenium theatre that includes multi-level seating and an orchestra pit large enough for 90 musicians. The Festival has proven its resilience, having grown during a widely felt economic downturn and playing its way through a potentially devastating Derecho storm in June 2012.
The Castleton Festival is different from other festivals in the region, with its combined roles as a producer, young artists mentoring program and performance venue.
A welcome respite from the busy city, complete with new productions of classics and rarely performed works, the Festival has seen ticket sales and attendance rise each year. Castleton had the strongest sales in Festival history last year, exceeding summer ticket revenue goals by 30% and attendance increasing by 31%. Additionally, the Festival recently received an encouraging grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) of $30,000, a 71% increase in funding from the previous year. And, as the largest non-government employer in central Virginia’s Rappahannock County, the Festival has received generous General Operating support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA).
Also new in 2013, Castleton launched a group to recruit audiences under 35: Castleton Crescendo. The Crescendo program, chaired by Roger Custer, who has a recognized track record of fundraising and non-profit management in the region, will be offering discounted tickets through social media engagement and special events during the summer, as well as throughout the year. The new Student Rush program offers day-of- performance tickets at a 50% discount.
As Castleton achieves new milestones – becoming an independent nonprofit organization, receiving notable grants from VCA and NEA and accomplishing the formation of both a distinguished board of directors and group of advisory directors — it remains true to its mission of nurturing young artists, fostering collaborative artistic enterprise and creating opportunities within the community for shared cultural experience.

  • Founded in 2009 by Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel under the auspices of the Châteauville Foundation, the Castleton Festival introduced classical music, theater and opera performed by the stars of tomorrow, working with established artists, to the rolling hills of Rappahannock Country, Virginia.
  • The Castleton Festival is different from other summer festivals in the region because it is both a producing entity, a performance venue and, importantly, a mentoring program for young professionals. Each year, the Festival has attracted more than 180 young professional singers, musicians, makeup and costumers, technicians and stagehands to work on their craft alongside more experienced professionals for eight weeks of rehearsals and performances. The Castleton Artists Training Seminar (C.A.T.S.) is an accredited college course that selects about 50 students each summer (the number is 52 this season) for a rigorous eight-week course in singing, acting, movement, languages and career management, led by a star faculty.
  • Repertoire from previous seasons include The Turn of the Screw, The Beggar’s Opera, Albert Herring and The Rape of Lucretia (2009); Il Trittico, A Soldier’s Tale andMaster Pedro’s Puppet Show (2010); La Bohème, L’enfant et les sortilèges, and Seven Deadly Sins (2011); The Barber of Seville, Carmen, and A Little Night Music (2012).
  • Now in its fifth season, the Festival has established its own independent 501(c)3 nonprofit, incorporated in Castleton, VA, effective January 11, 2013. The four-week Festival program, July 3-28, 2013, includes Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanciulla del West) directed by renowned Italian stage director Giandomenico Vaccari and the Sir Peter Hall/Glyndebourne Festival production of Verdi’s Otello. La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice) appears as a double bill, pairing for the first time the Cocteau play and the Poulenc opera, conducted by Malko Competition co-winner Antonio Méndez.
  • Performances take place in two venues: the 648-seat Festival Theatre (7 Castleton Meadows Lane, Castleton, VA 22716) hosts the operatic and symphonic programs, while song recitals and works requiring a more intimate space such as La Voix Humaine take place at the acoustically superb 138 seat Theatre House (664 Castleton View Road, Castleton, VA 22716).

Fine Dining at Castleton Farms is offered by Claire’s at Castleton, with a menu created by award-winning chef Claire Lamborne of Claire’s at the Depot, Warrenton, VA. Claire’s at the Depot in Warrenton was recently voted Best Overall Restaurant, Best Sunday Brunch, and Best Caterer in Northern Virginia by readers of Virginia Living magazine.
Continuing to secure and preserve its future, the Festival is proud to announce the formation of a Castleton Festival Board of Directors, chaired by long-time Castleton Festival supporter and former Châteauville Foundation board member Judith Richards Hope of Washington, VA. Hope is a Distinguished Visitor from Practice-Georgetown University and Director of consulting firm Hope & Company, PC. The Castleton Festival Board includes a mix of community leaders and fundraisers, each with wide nonprofit experience and a deep commitment to the arts in Virginia and the Greater Washington, DC region.
The Board of Directors, currently comprised of 20 individuals, includes prominent Washington, Virginia and Maryland community leaders:

  • Judith Richards Hope, Chair
  • Hugh H. Smith, Treasurer
  • Christopher R. Wall, Secretary
  • Maestro Lorin Maazel, Executive & Artistic Director, Ex Officio
  • Dietlinde Turban Maazel, Associate Artistic Director, Ex-Officio
  • Nancy Gustafson, General Manager, Ex-Officio
  • Charles T. Akre
  • R. Augustus Edwards, III
  • Spencer H. Kim
  • Jennifer M. Manly
  • Nina O. May
  • J. Clifford Miller, III
  • Alexia Morrison
  • Catherine Porter
  • Jack Porter
  • Nedra G. Smith
  • The Hon. John Fox Sullivan, Mayor, Washington, VA, Ex-Officio
  • Susan Strittmatter
  • C. Scott Willis
  • Cheri Woodard
The Festival’s Advisory Directors informs and guides the Festival Board regarding new regional, national and international partnerships as well as major funding opportunities. They serve as national and international ambassadors of the Castleton spirit and the artistic vision of Maestro Lorin and Dietlinde Maazel. The Advisory Directors include artists and cultural luminaries:

  • Christiane Amanpour
  • Emanuel Ax
  • Col. John Bourgeois
  • Yefim Bronfman
  • Roger Custer, Chair, Crescendo, Ex-Officio
  • William M. Dietel; Linda R. Dietel
  • Maestro Christoph Eschenbach
  • Denyce Graves
  • Sir James Galway
  • Sir Ronald Grierson
  • Jeremy Irons
  • Contessa Sabine Lovatelli
  • Charles B. Ortner
  • John W. McCarthy, County Administrator, Rappahannock County, Ex-Officio
  • Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki
  • Paloma O’Shea
  • Samuel Ramey
  • Daisy Soros
  • Margaret Warner
  • David Whelton
  • Sir James and Elaine Wolfensohn
  • Maestro Lorin Maazel
  • Dietlinde Turban Maazel


  • The Castleton Festival’s role as a unique mentoring program and performance festival was validated by grants in the last year from both the NEA ($30,000) and VCA ($43,000 in 2012 and 72,000 in 2013 with a $5,000 matching grant from Rappahannock County) totaling $150,000.
  • As a result of the grants and generous support from patrons and audiences around the Washington, DC area, the Festival has become one of the fastest growing music festivals on the world scene.
  • Last year, the Festival exceeded summer ticket revenue goals by 30% and had the strongest sales in Festival history, with summer attendance increasing by 31%.
  • Specifically, attendance at the 2012 Festival totaled 13,000 people.
  • Castleton is now the largest non-government employer in Rappahannock County.* *Source: John McCarthy, County Administrator
  • NEW Pilot Education/Outreach Programs:

1. Opera for the Young and Opera Alive! Opportunities for students to see and experience live opera, performed by tomorrow’s most talented stars, conducted by Maestro Maazel.
2. Live performance and student dress rehearsal programming, initiated with 11 educational entity partners (including, but not limited to Public Schools) in the Piedmont region that includes accessible, online study guides plus outcomes measures.
The Castleton Festival’s core staff of experts manages every detail of the Festival:

  • Maestro Lorin Maazel, Executive Director & Artistic Director
  • Dietlinde Turban Maazel, Director of Administration & Associate Artistic Director
  • Nancy Gustafson, General Manager
  • Jack Porter, Chief Financial Officer
  • John Harris, Director of Operations
  • Howard Bender, Director of Institutional Advancement & External Relations
  • Laura Overstreet, Marketing & Outreach Manager
  • Bradley Vernatter, Company Manager
  • Casey Smith, Production Manager
  • Justin Kulovsek, Director of Digital & Online Content
  • Bayard Johnson, Office Manager / Box Office Manager
  • Ben Lovell, Development and Patron Management Associate
  • Emily Becker, CATS Coordinator & Assistant to the General Manager
  • David Latham, Technical Director


  • In 2013, the Virginia Department of Transportation recognized Castleton as a permanent event and has aided first-time visitors by installing ten blue directional signs showing drivers along Route 211 and throughout the region the most direct way to the Castleton Festival.

Visitors to Castleton Farms can still see the famous Castleton zebra and zonkey mascots across from the Theatre House.
Email: info@castletonfestival.org
Box office: 866-974-0767.
On the Web: CastletonFestival.org

Twitter: @CastletonFest
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CastletonFest

Jenny Lawhorn / 202-821-8898 or jlawhorn@scottcircle.com
Sarah Coppersmith at: 602-418-0316 or scoppersmith@scottcircle.com.



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