Famed singer first in series of new fine arts faculty hires

International opera star Joyce Castle has accepted a position as professor of voice in the department of music and dance, becoming the first of 11 new faculty members to be hired by Kansas University's School of Fine Arts this spring.

The mezzo-soprano begins her tenure with KU in August in a position that allows her to continue her active stage career.

"I am extremely pleased that Joyce Castle will be joining the School of Fine Arts faculty next fall," said Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of fine arts. "Castle will be part of a voice and opera faculty that will attract national recognition to the department of music and Dance."

Not only is Castle an internationally recognized singer, but she also is a home-town favorite. She lived in Baldwin, where her parents, George and Ethel Malicky, still reside, from fourth grade through high school and in Lawrence while attending KU. Castle holds a bachelor's degree in theater and voice, a degree that was created for her by Lewin Goff, former director of University Theatre, and Thomas Gorton, former dean of fine arts.

"I am thrilled to be coming back to KU � I am a very proud alum," Castle said. "Through a nurturing faculty and caring atmosphere, I began to build my voice and acting abilities while finding great performance opportunities. It started me on my journey."

Castle said the thought of applying for the job caught her off guard at first.

"I was asked if I would be interested, and it made me stop and thin � and then I said, 'Yes.' I see this as adding a new dimension to what I already do: continuing my career and working with young singers. It should be very exciting. Making music always is."

"It is like a dream to have attracted Joyce Castle to this position," said search committee chair and voice professor John Stephens. "She possesses the most extraordinary combination of talent and creative energy and humility; this is the kind of person we want to have as a teacher here."

Stephens noted that KU's desire for faculty to be active performers is a draw for musicians with established careers.

Recent highlights in Castle's career include the current opening of Strauss' "Salome" in the Flanders Opera in Belgium. On April 10, she will perform Leonard Bernstein's music with baritone Kurt Ollmann at the Lied Center, a concert they will repeat in June in Barcelona, Spain.

Castle will sing her acclaimed portrayal of Augusta in "The Ballad of Baby Doe" in April with the New York City Opera. She also looks forward to Gilbert and Sullivan concerts with Raymond Leppard and the Indianapolis Symphony in May.

A much anticipated role for Castle is that of Queen Elizabeth I in the first American stage production of Benjamin Britten's "Gloriana" this summer at Central City Opera in Denver.

"By the time I perform, I will have worked on this role for well over a year," she said. "It's one of those dream roles. Britten writes with such great ingenuity, with vocal and theatrical mastery."

Castle has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Company, New York City Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and in the opera companies in Seattle, Santa Fe, Dallas, Houston and Washington,D.C. She has performed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She has appeared on PBS television broadcasts, Saturday afternoon Texaco broadcasts from the Met and has recorded a wide variety of 20th-century music.

Of the 12 positions to be filled in the School of Fine Arts, seven are in the music and dance eepartment, including a new chair. Three are faculty positions in eesign and one in the art department. The 12th position is the executive director of the Lied Center.

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