Jesús Castro-Balbi’s artistic activities encompass critically acclaimed performances and broadcasts in the US, Asia, Europe and throughout Latin America as a soloist with, among other orchestras, the Dallas and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras, the China Philharmonic, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra (Denmark), the Leipzig MDR radio orchestra, the Mexico City Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra (Peru). He appeared in prestigious venues from Alice Tully Hall and over a dozen appearances at Carnegie Hall in New York to the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. He further performs at prominent festivals, including the Lincoln Center Festival, and in Cartagena (Colombia), Morelia (Mexico), San Miguel de Allende (Mexico) and Riga (Latvia). Beyond the beloved standard repertoire, he has developed a long-standing affinity with music of our time, whether bringing the Lutoslawski concerto to audiences from New Orleans to Lima, performing William Bolcom’s Capriccio at the Cliburn at the Modern series in Fort Worth, presenting the American premiere of Lera Auerbach’s Postscriptum in New York with Clavier Trio, or recording the complete music for cello and piano by Robert Rodriguez with pianist Gloria Lin. To date, he has presented 51 premiere performances of concerti, chamber music and cello ensemble music, the world premiere recording of 17 works, and is the dedicatee of 19 compositions. Notable among these is his 2015 recording of the cello concerto Lord of the Air by Jimmy López for Harmonia Mundi with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra led by Miguel Harth-Bedoya. This album was named Album of the Week by the Chicago Tribune, Le Choix de France-Musique, and won the Luces prize in Peru.
As a teacher of international reputation, he presents master-classes and seminars abroad at Beijing’s Central Conservatory, the Paris Conservatoire, the Leipzig and Stuttgart Hochschule, for the Japan Cello Society, and in the US at the Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. As an adjudicator, he served on the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Lynn Harrell Competition, the Sphinx Competition (Michigan), and at the Aiqin Bei (China), Lutoslawski (Poland) and Carlos Prieto (Mexico) international cello competitions.
A professor at the Texas Christian University School of Music in Fort Worth, Texas, he has developed since 2003 a select studio of undergraduate and graduate cellists from the US and abroad. He is the founding artistic director of the TCU Cello Ensemble and of the TCU Cellofest, led the Faculty & Friends Chamber Music Series for 11 years, and received the College of Fine Arts Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar. His commitment to the university extends to service on various forums advancing the institution’s mission ranging from the Faculty Senate to institutional strategic planning.
Of Peruvian heritage, raised in France and now a US citizen, Dr. Castro-Balbi graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur at Lyon, Indiana University at Bloomington, the Yale School of Music, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School. He had the privilege to learn from Aldo Parisot, Janos Starker, and members of the Amadeus, Borodine, Juilliard, Ravel and Tokyo String Quartets.
The charge of teaching another person is a privilege and responsibility that requires respect and careful consideration throughout the entire process. My basic premise is:
- Understand the student’s background, personal and career objectives, strengths and needs;
- Propose a process and strategy to foster tangible growth; and,
- Prepare the student to operate within professional and ethical standards, according to the student’s goals and program of study.
- As an advisor and mentor, strive to graduate students with the skills to enjoy a life with music and be competitive in their chosen field; and,
- Lead my students to become engaged and highly adaptable artists in their world so that they may be creative and productive now and into the future.
Listening to the student in tones or in words, I try my best to tune into the particularities of their experience and identify ways to foster their human and musical development. Whether delving into a particular technical challenge, or into the historical and esthetic characteristics of a musical work, the process of learning together guides and inspires my teaching. It is therefore my goal to develop a deeper and fresh understanding of the music and propose techniques that will enable communicating this new truth to the audience. I strive to offer approaches to productive practice time that truly prepares towards a rewarding performance. Above all, it is my purpose to guide the student to reveal and appreciate the beauty and relevance of their own artistic voice.
La Jolla Summer Fest, California
David Finckel, Wu Han, Gilbert Kalish and Cho-Liang Lin (Chamber Music)
Jerusalem Third International Chamber Music Encounters, Israel
David Finckel, David Golub, Wu Han, Henry Meyer and Isaac Stern (Chamber Music)
Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Connecticut Members of the Vermeer and Tokyo String Quartets (Chamber Music)
International Bartók Seminar, Szombathely, Hungary
Miklós Perényi (Cello); György Kurtág (Chamber Music)
First Academy of 20th Century Music, Cité de la musique, Paris, France
Pierre Boulez, David Robertson and members of the “Ensemble Intercontemporain” (New Music)
International Festival Institute, Round-Top, Texas
Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Martin Lovett and Zoltán Tóth (Chamber Music)
Rencontres Internationales d’Entrecasteaux, France
Philippe Muller (Cello); Eli Goren (Chamber Music)
Manchester International Cello Festival, England
Lluís Claret and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi (Cello)
Amadeus International Summer Course, London, UK
Norbert Brainin, Sigmund Nissel and Martin Lovett (Chamber Music)
Rencontres Musicales de Villarceaux, France – Janos Starker (Cello)
Performances as a concert cellist span from Alice Tully Hall and over a dozen appearances at Carnegie Hall in New York to Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Paris’ Cité de la Musique, Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and from Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Hall and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center to the Aspen, Cartagena and Lincoln Center festivals.
A sought-after soloist, appears with distinguished orchestras throughout Europe, North and South America, such as the Aarhus and Dallas symphony orchestra, the Mexico City and the China philharmonic orchestras, and the Leipzig MDR Radio Orchestra.
Featured in 13 compact discs and presented 56 world premiere performances and recordings, including 24 works written for him by prominent composers. 2015 recording of the Jimmy López cello concerto for Harmonia Mundi, with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra led by Miguel Harth-Bedoya, was highly praised in major North American and European media.
Regularly guest-teaches at major festivals, and presents master-classes and lectures at Beijing’s Central Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Paris Conservatoire, the Leipzig and Stuttgart Hochschule, and at the Yale School of Music.
Adjudicator at the Sphinx Competition (Michigan), and at the Aiqin Bei (China), Lutoslawski (Poland) and Carlos Prieto (Mexico) international cello competitions.
Recording of the Jimmy López concerto on Harmonia Mundi with Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra named “Album of the Week” (Chicago Tribune) and “Le Choix de France Musique” (France)
College of Fine Arts Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar, TCU Deans’ Research and Creativity Award, TCU
Salon de Virtuosi – Schwartz Foundation Award, New York, New York
Victor Elmaleh Prize, Concert Artist Guild, New York, New York
First Prize, Carlos Prieto Latin American Cello Competition, Mexico
Aldo Parisot Prize, Yale U., Connecticut
Service to the University and to the profession:
Developed a select studio of undergraduate and graduate cellists from the US and abroad at TCU since 2003.
Founding artistic director of the TCU Cello Ensemble and of the TCU Cellofest.
Artistic director of the Faculty & Friends Chamber Music Series for 11 years at the TCU School of Music.
Service on campus-wide forums at TCU:
Faculty Senate (Immediate Past-chair)
University Strategic Planning Committee to Strengthen the Endowment (Co-chair)
University Mission Statement Review Task Force
University Compensation Advisory Committee
Faculty Senate Special Committee on Academic Profile (Chair)
University Council Committee on University Committees (former Chair)
Academic Excellence Committee (former Assistant Chair)
International Students Committee
Led formation of the Faculty Senate Special Committee on Academic Profile, Senate Special Committee on Research and Creative Activities at TCU; the Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness University Committee; and the TCU and the Environment Ad-hoc University Committee.
Associate Dean, Conservatory Music in the Mountains, Durango, Colorado (2010-2013)