Lawrence – The Kansas Federation of Music Clubs will celebrate the talents of three KU School of Music faculty — Joyce Castle, David Neely and Forrest Pierce —with a concert at 8:30 p.m., March 31 at Plymouth Congregational Church.
The free concert is part of the 97th Annual Kansas Federation of Music Clubs convention, which is being hosted by the Lawrence Music Club. The two-day convention will draw music club members from across the state to Lawrence. The Kansas Federation of Music Clubs is honoring Castle as Musician of the Year, Neely as Artist and Educator of the Year and Pierce as Composer of the Year.
The concert will feature Castle in two songs from Jake Heggie’s “Statuesque,” a work commissioned by the University of Kansas and written for Castle, and a piece by Alec Wilder. Neely will accompany Castle.
KU School of Music faculty will perform two works by Pierce, “Ruin of the Cypress,” for alto flute and piano and “Cathedral Grove,” for oboe. KU faculty Sarah Frisof, associate professor of flute; Michael Kirkendoll, assistant professor of piano; and Margaret Marco, associate professor of oboe, will perform the pieces. Pierce will give a short talk about his work as a composer.
Six KU School of Music students who received Lawrence Music Club scholarships will begin the concert with a performance.
Earlier on March 31, Nicholas Susi, the 2015 Young Artist Winner in Piano, will give a recital at 3 p.m. in Swarthout Recital Hall as part of the convention’s concert series. The recital is free and opened to the public.
The Kansas Music Federation recognized Castle as Musician of the Year for her contribution to the international music scene, work with students and support of music. Castle, a University Distinguished Professor of Voice, has performed all over the world. A Grammy winner for her performance in Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide,” Castle was a leading artist at the New York City Opera for 25 seasons and at the Metropolitan Opera for 14 seasons.
“Joyce Castle’s life and career are the finest example of a musician who loves audiences, students, supporters and the KU School of Music,” said John Bechen, president of the Lawrence Music Club.
The organization honored Neely as Artist and Educator of the Year for his influence on audiences in Kansas and beyond and his work with students. Neely, director of orchestral activities, has conducted orchestras and operas throughout the world. In 2012, Neely was appointed music director and principal conductor of the Des Moines Metro Opera, where he has received national recognition for his work.
“Young musicians have flourished in the orchestra or as soloists under the direction of his baton,” Bechen said
The Kansas Federation of Music Clubs recognized Pierce as Composer of the Year for his instrumental and vocal works that have encompassed genres, traditions and new directions that reach diverse audiences. Pierce, associate professor of music composition, composes music steeped in religious mysticism and contemporary virtuosity. His works have been performed in sacred and concert settings around the world and by diverse ensembles.
“His contributions enrich the lives of many and we are fortunate to have him in the state of Kansas,” Bechen said.
More information on the performers can be found at music.ku.edu. More information about the Kansas Federation of Music Clubs can be found at http://www.nfmc-music.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=kansas&category=state.