Monday, October 4, 2010

Lorin Maazel and Dietlinde Turban Maazel Announce New Appointments to the Castleton Festival

International Banker And Industrialist Sir Ronald Grierson Appointed To The Châteauville Foundation Board Of Directors Soprano Nancy Gustafson Appointed General Manager Of The Castleton Festival

Founders of The Châteauville Foundation, Lorin Maazel and Dietlinde Turban Maazel, announced today that London-based Sir Ronald Grierson, chairman of the Blackstone Group's International Advisory Board, has joined The Châteauville Foundation's Board of Directors.

Sir Ronald Gierson has had a long and accomplished career as a banker and industrialist and has served in various appointed government positions. His principal business posts were Managing Director of S.G. Warburg (1948-1985) and Vice-Chairman of The General Electric Company (1968-1996). His main public appointments (other than service in HM Forces from 1940-1952) were Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of the UK Industrial Reorganisation Corporation and Director-General for Industry and Technology of the European Commission in Brussels. At various times he also served on the boards of Chrysler Corporation, R.J. Reynolds Nabisco, W.R. Grace & Co., British Aircraft Corporation (now BAE Systems) and International Computers Ltd. He continues to serve on boards and advisory boards in Europe (chiefly the Blackstone Group) and the United States and is chairman of several international philanthropic bodies in the fields of medicine, education and music. From 1984-1990 he was executive chairman of the South Bank Centre, London's principal arts complex. He is also a trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Sir Ronald Grierson joins co-chairs Lorin Maazel and Dietlinde Turban Maazel and board members Giuseppina Caltagirone, Nancy Gustafson, Judith Richards Hope, Spencer Kim, Henry von Eichel, and Roderick von Lipsey. The Châteauville Foundation's mission is to nurture young artists, foster collaborative artistic enterprise and create opportunities within the community for shared cultural experience. It launched the Castleton Festival in 2009.

The Maazels also announced today that soprano Nancy Gustafson has been appointed General Manager of the Castleton Festival. A professional opera singer for over 30 years and an experienced educator, Ms. Gustafson has been the primary voice coach for the Castleton Residency program run by the Foundation since its inception in 2006 and is a founding member of the Board of Directors.

In addition to her roles as a performer and an educator, Ms. Gustafson is also an experienced fundraiser having organized benefit concerts for the Over the Rainbow Association in her hometown of Evanston, Illinois for the past 21 years. These concerts have raised millions of dollars with the money used to build seven apartment complexes for the severely physically disabled to live on their own.

Ms. Gustafson begins her new role as General Manager immediately and will be responsible for coordinating all rehearsal and performance schedules, auditioning singers and advising the Festival's artistic director, Maestro Lorin Maazel, on casting questions. She will also address the administrative challenges of the festival and oversee external relations.

"Ms. Gustafson brings to the position an intimate knowledge of opera only an international career spanning 30 years as a celebrated performing artist can provide. The Castleton Festival is indeed most fortunate to have her aboard," says Maestro Maazel.

Ms. Gustafson will also continue to co-ordinate the Foundation's auxiliary Castleton Artists Training Seminar (CATS) program that attracts scores of young singers, many destined for major operatic careers, to the Festival. In 2011 the CATS program will almost double, from 17 to 30 participants, with auditions currently being held. During the Castleton Festival, CATS singers are offered a range of classes and coaching encompassing opera and song literature, vocal technique and interpretation, acting for the stage, languages and opera workshops. At the 2011 Festival, CATS participants will comprise the chorus for La Bohème and will participate in the new production of Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortilèges. They will perform recitals throughout the Festival and also be responsible for covering roles in the Festival's opera productions.

Ms. Gustafson says that she is honored and excited to take on this expanded role: "The Castleton Festival is part of my very body and soul. I am passionate about each and every aspect of the Festival, not only for the participants and what they can get from the program, but also for the surrounding communities and what we can give to them. This past summer, the CATS singers sang at numerous senior citizen centers and nursing homes in both Fauquier and Rappahannock counties and we've only begun our outreach programs. These benefit not only the community, but the singers themselves."

The Castleton Residency program and the Festival bring around 200 young artists including singers, conductors, instrumentalists, directors, costume designers and lighting designers to live on the Maazels' Virginia property, Castleton Farms, for eight weeks to work with professional mentors and prepare the performances of the operas and concerts.

The 2011 Castleton Festival will be held in Virginia Friday, June 25 through Sunday, July 24. This year's festival will feature opera and orchestral performances held at Castleton Farms in Rappahannock County, VA as well as concert and opera presentations held at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and the beginning of a new partnership with China's National Centre for the Performing Arts.

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