In addition to conducting and composing, Maestro Maazel was an avid reader and lover of literature, a student of philosophy, astronomy, and math, a film buff, and fierce ping-pong player. He wrote short fiction, watched his fair share of tennis (rare was the U.S. Open he didn't catch on TV) and listened for pleasure to all kinds of music, especially Tony Bennett. Maestro Maazel was also an ardent fan of technology and engaged with tens of thousands of fans through blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
With his wife, Dietlinde Turban Maazel, he founded the Castleton Festival in 2009 and has held annual summer performances and training seminars since then at state-of-the-art venues they built on his Virginia farm. Knowing the value of mentoring he himself benefited from as a youth, Maestro Maazel established the Castleton Festival with a mission: it would be a “vista-opener,” in his words, an opportunity to nurture young musicians through mentoring and performing, to draw audiences to performances showcasing young talent, and to bring fresh energy to classical music alongside established artists such as Denyce Graves and Sir James Galway.
The Castleton Festival is Maestro Maazel’s legacy. As the music soared, he rejoiced in seeing young players, singers, and conductors be transported to unimagined realms. Addressing the audience at the June 28, 2014 opening night of the Castleton Festival, Maestro Maazel described working with the young orchestra and singers as a “more than a labor of love – a labor of joy.”