I had no idea what I got myself into when I signed on to intern with the Castleton Festival in rural Virginia, after completion of my formal graduate studies in the United States. Even though I've been at "the farm" for only two weeks and the festival has yet to start (it runs June 22-July22), I can feel the excitement and anticipate all the learning, both on and off the orchestral seat.
Now in its fourth year, the Castleton Festival is the brainchild of Maestro Lorin Maazel and his wife, Dietlinde Turban Maazel. The maestro hosts the festival on his vast 600-acre farm (only about 60 miles from urban Washington D.C.). On his property, he has constructed an opera house and an amazing recital hall, called the Theatre House, which is modeled after the Shakespearan Globe Theatre.
What's incredible about this festival is its ability to bring musicians from all sorts of backgrounds into one area for two months of intensive workout.
Being a violinist and a student for the last few years, I've been on the playing side of things and have never considered venturing into arts administration, let alone working for a large-scale summer music festival with one of the world’s beloved musical icons.
As daunting as this move was for me, I wholeheartedly wanted to explore a different career choice while maintaining a strong link to the classical music world. People often ask me (including the constant nagging from parents) what I want to do with my life and can I make enough to scratch a living. Knowing that going down a performance track will be difficult and somewhat limited in terms of a long-term career satisfaction, I saw potential for me after interning for the Baltimore Symphony in last spring.
So even though these past two weeks, I’ve been getting acquainted with my colleagues and supervisors, though this doesn't include the maestro, and, of course, making preparations for the mammoth month of performances. So far my experiences have been quite fun, certainly different, since I am not playing the violin for the summer (the first time in quite sometime). At the same time, I feel I am learning new skills.
Day One started from "no idea" to running around like a bat out of hell.
Saturday, I was needed to help at the fundraiser dinner at the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C. I didn't know what I had gotten myself into. First, I made a run to Best Buy (for some reason, we needed a rather large TV on short notice). Then, I hooked up the TV to play a special message from maestro Maazel.
Quite daunting, given it was my first day and I was walking into unknown territory.
Nonetheless, the experiences have been fruitful and I anticipate that I will learn much more as both a musician and arts administrator from this festival. As the musicians and other key personnel start arriving on the farm, the air around here is getting exciting and heating up quite rapidly.
Although the festival is geared slightly towards opera (two new major productions are staged each season), instrumentalists do get busy throughout the festival. Besides opera, the orchestra performs three large symphonic concerts under the maestro, and there are plenty of chamber-music opportunities (especially when you put together a 100-piece orchestra of mainly young musicians for a whole month!).
Jack Lin has performed, lectured, taught, and written about music. He studied violin under the eminent Australian violinist Paul Wright, a protege of of the late Yehudi Menuhin.
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