Up from the ashes

Wolf Trap celebrates revival from 1982 fire

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Print this page by M.J. McAteer
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Arvind Manocha

Along with all its many other high-end assets, Fairfax County can boast of being the home of Wolf Trap, the country’s only national park for the performing arts.

Back in 1982, when the park was still a preteen, its central stage, the Filene Center, burned to the ground. It took two years to rebuild after that devastating loss, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the amphitheater’s phoenix-like rise from the ashes.  CEO and President Arvind Manocha decided to celebrate that occasion with “a season of big names from across all genres.”

Performers on stage at the nearly 4,000-seat, open-air theater this year include classical heavyweights such as Yo-Yo Ma, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra; jazz greats such as guitarist Pat Metheny and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis; popular music stars The Fray and Counting Crows; and dance innovator Trey McIntyre in his final Washington-area performance.

Wolf Trap is expanding its outreach programs, too, Manocha says. Its Institute for Early Learning will reach eight to 10 new cities in 30 states, and for the first time, it will have an artist in residence for its opera program. Bass baritone Eric Owens, an alumnus of the company, will spend six weeks at the Vienna park performing, mentoring young artists and giving master classes.

Manocha, who managed the Hollywood Bowl before arriving at Wolf Trap in January 2013, says, “I knew Wolf Trap as an institution with a broad and varied mandate. I was happy to come and join the story.” Now, he says, “The focus of our efforts is on raising the bar.”

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