Katherine Balch, composer

Called “spellbinding” (Seen and Heard International) with “glow and poise and electric tension” (The Daily Telegraph), the music of composer Katherine Balch captures the magic of everyday sounds, inviting audiences into a sonic world characterized by imagination, discovery, and textural lyricism. Inspired by the intimacy of quotidian objects, found sounds, and natural processes, she has been described as “some kind of musical Thomas Edison – you can just hear her tinkering around in her workshop, putting together new sounds and textural ideas” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Katherine’s work has been commissioned and performed by leading ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the London Sinfonietta, l’Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Minnesota, Oregon, Albany, Indianapolis, and Tokyo. She has been featured on IRCAM’s ManiFeste, Fontainebleau Music Festival, and Festival MANCA in France, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK, Suntory Summer Arts and Takefu Music Festival in Japan, and the Aspen, Norfolk, Santa Fe, and Tanglewood music festivals in the United States. Her work has been presented in major global venues including Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.

Winner of the 2020-2021 Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome, Katherine was nominated by violinist Hilary Hahn for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s 2020 Career Advancement Award. She has also been honored by ASCAP, BMI, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Chamber Music America, the Barlow Foundation, Civitella Ranieri, the International Society of Contemporary Music, the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation, and Wigmore Hall. Her music is published exclusively worldwide by Schott Music.

Katherine was the 2017-2020 composer-in-residence for the California Symphony, where she was lauded by the Mercury News as a “superbly gifted composer [with] a compositional voice that is truly unique and full of wonder.” She has also served as composer-in-residence for Young Concert Artists, Inc.

Deeply committed to pursuing inclusive, engaging pedagogical practices that empower students through creative music-making, Katherine is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Composition (adjunct) at Yale School of Music. She has previously served on the faculties of Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, Mannes School of Music, Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, the Walden School and Bard College-Conservatory Prep. Katherine holds a D.M.A. from Columbia University and an M.M. from Yale School of Music. She counts among her mentors George Lewis, Georg Friedrich Haas, Marcos Balter, Zosha Di Castri, Aaron Kernis, Chris Theofanidis, and David Lang.

Katherine documents her lived experiences on the page, with each composition serving as a diary of what has captivated her curiosity. When not making or listening to music, she can be found hiking, cooking, or hanging out with her feline sidekick, Zarathustra and her husband, fellow composer Ted Moore.

Artist’s website

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