Jesús Castro-Balbi is an inclusive, visionary, and strategic leader of international perspective with a passion for advancing students and building communities through the arts and education.
As interim associate dean of the KSU Journey Honors College, he supports a talented faculty and staff team dedicated to creating an extraordinary educational experience for all KSU students.
As director of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey School of Music, he strengthened the shared governance structure and harmonized curriculum, policies and practices in support of institutional priorities; developed strategic partnerships and an ambitious and values-driven presenting season to engage with communities locally, across the state, and globally; and led a recruiting campaign that resulted in the School recording its largest incoming class to date.
Prior to joining Kennesaw State University, Dr. Castro-Balbi served as a faculty at Texas Christian University, where he built an internationally sought-after cello program. A proponent of forward-looking programs and a practitioner of progressive pedagogies focused on advancing student success in a quality educational environment, he developed the curriculum and led initiatives leveraging inclusive excellence, educational technology, multidisciplinary collaboration, community-based learning, and student research. A dedicated university citizen, he led campus-wide forums on academic profile, budget, employee compensation, and strategic planning. As Faculty Senate chair, he engaged all stakeholders on a range of initiatives that moved the institution forward, including the creation of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion University Committee.
As an American Council on Education Fellow, he developed higher education leadership capacity with the senior executive at the University of Miami and at campuses across the nation, focusing on academic innovation, administrative excellence, and strategic plan implementation. Additionally, he completed the Management Development Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
A critically acclaimed concert cellist, he has performed in the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia, in chamber music as a member of the Caminos del Inka String Quartet, the Clavier Trio, and the Lin / Castro-Balbi Duo. As a soloist, he has collaborated with the Aarhus, Dallas, and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras; the Dallas Chamber Symphony; the China, Louisiana and Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestras; the Leipzig Radio Orchestra; and the National Symphony Orchestra of Peru. He has been featured at New York’s Alice Tully Hall, over a dozen times at Carnegie Hall, at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center and at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.
Dr. Castro-Balbi has long been a strong proponent of new music. To date, he has presented 53 premiere performances, the world premiere recording of 19 works, and is the dedicatee of 19 compositions. Other highlights are the New York premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Cello Concerto Kai; the first recording of the complete music for cello and piano by Robert Rodriguez; and the premieres, with Germán Gutiérrez and the TCU Symphony Orchestra, of Edgar Valcárcel’s Concerto Indio and of Jimmy López’ cello concerto, Lord of the Air, and the subsequent recording of the latter for Harmonia Mundi with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra led by Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
A renowned educator, he has guest taught at Beijing’s Central Conservatory, Paris Conservatoire, Leipzig and Stuttgart Hochschule, for the Japan Cello Society, at The Juilliard School, and at the Yale School of Music. Additionally, he has adjudicated at the Lynn Harrell Competition (Dallas), the Sphinx Competition (Michigan), and at the Aiqin Bei (China), Lutoslawski (Poland) and Carlos Prieto (Mexico) international cello competitions.
Of Peruvian heritage and raised in France, Dr. Castro-Balbi graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur at Lyon, Indiana University Bloomington, and the Yale School of Music, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School.