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June 24, 2011

In today's Sun: A preview of the 2011 Castleton Festival

If you haven't made the trip down to Rappahannock County to experience the Castleton festival, you ought to give it a try.

Yeah, the drive isn't all a lark from Baltimore, but once you're out on those rolling county roads, you'll leave your cares and troubles behind.

I've got a story about the 2011 festival in today's Sun, so I won't go on and on here. I'll just add that the cool factor of Castleton is considerable.

First of all, it means you get to be on the gorgeous estate of stellar conductor Lorin Maazel and his wife Dietlinde Turban Maazel. It really is a welcoming, calming place.

And most of the opera and orchestral performances are ...

conducted by Maazel, a very big draw in my book. I know some folks carp that his interpretations are "micro-managed" or other such nonsense, but I invariably find him a fascinating, compelling music-maker.

Then you have the caliber of the performances by fine young artists who are showcased in the festival.

So I'd say there's more than enough reason to take the drive. But, this summer, that drive doesn't have to be all the way into the hills. For the first time, there will be some Castleton events at Strathmore and the Hylton Center in Manassas, too.


Posted by Tim Smith at 9:03 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Clef Notes

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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