The Lied Center of Kansas presents mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle performing The Hawthorn Tree and other works accompanied by KU faculty musicians Mark Ferrell, piano; David Fedele, flute; Margaret Marco, oboe; Peter Chun, viola; and Larry Rice, bass -Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.
An acclaimed American mezzo-soprano, Castle celebrates 40 years of performance in the 2010-11 season. In the last four decades, she has established herself as a versatile artist with a repertoire of more than 130 roles in works by composers ranging from Bernstein to Wagner. Castle was raised in Baldwin City, Kan. She is a KU graduate and a current KU professor of voice.
"I am thrilled to be back at the Lied Center," said Joyce Castle in a webcam interview with the Lied Center - viewable at lied.ku.edu. "I was fortunate to open the Lied Center in its chamber music series in 1993. I sang with Pat Wise and David Holloway, two other alumni, with Robert Hiller playing the piano."
To commemorate her ruby anniversary, Castle will perform The Hawthorn Tree, a new vocal chamber song cycle written specifically for her by National Medal of Arts and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom. The Hawthorn Tree features seven poems written by women, and an original score composed by Bolcom for mezzo-soprano, piano, flute, oboe, viola and contrabass.
"Joyce Castle is one of our time's most incandescent acting singers; she can make you laugh out loud or scare you to death by turns as she wishes," said Bolcom. "When Joyce asked for a cycle for herself and the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, I was delighted with the prospect, of course, but realized that it would be a challenge to find texts to encompass her enormous expressive range."
Castle received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from KU and went on to graduate from the Eastman School of Music with a master of music degree. While Castle teaches, she also pursues her professional career. She has appeared in contemporary opera, French, German, Italian, cross-over and standard repertoire, and has recorded a wide variety of 20th century music. Her voice, stage presence and talent as an actress are praised worldwide.
This concert is free and open to the public and a reception will follow. Donations at the reception will be accepted in support of the KU Opera Endowment Fund.
While in Lawrence, Bolcom will conduct master classes in composition and voice to KU students.
For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436. www.music.ku.edu