Katherine Balch '16 MM is among seven emerging young composers chosen to participate in the Minnesota Orchestra's 14th annual Composer Institute. The seven finalists were chosen from a pool of 212 applicants, a record-breaking number for the institute.
The institute will take place from January 30 to February 3, 2017, and will include rehearsals, seminars, and mentoring sessions, as well as a public performance of their works by the Minnesota Orchestra on February 3. Institute director Kevin Puts '96 MM described the seven composers who will participate in the 2017 Institute as writing with "assuredness and panache in their own distinctive, memorable voices."
Members of the selection committee were Grammy Award-winning American composer Michael Daugherty, New Zealand-born composer Gemma New, and Sean Shepherd, former Composer Institute participant and recent Composer Fellow of the Cleveland Orchestra. In addition to the seven finalists the committee named several runners-up, including YSM alumna Natalie Dietterich '16 MM.
More about Katherine
Katherine Balch (b. 1991) is a composer whose work explores visual processes as a means to musical narrative and drama. Incorporating images and shapes into musical composition, her pieces blend lyricism with textural soundscapes. Often influenced by the extra-musical arts, philosophy, and literature, she seeks heterogenous yet formally cohesive aesthetic.
Katherine's music has been commissioned and performed by the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony (First Music Commission), Ensemble Intercontemporain (IRCAM ManiFeste), Collage New Music, the Yale Camerata, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Antico Moderno, FLUX Quartet (Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival), ZOFO duo, the New York Virtuoso Singers, Yale Philharmonia, Alea III, Departure Duo, and flute-piano duo Zachary Sheets and Wei-Han Wu (New Music USA) among others, in such venues as Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, and Centquatre (Paris). Recent recognitions include fellowships from Aspen, Norfolk, and Fontainebleau music festivals, several ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, New England Conservatory’s Donald Martino Prize, Fontainebleau’s Prix du Composition, first prize in America Modern Ensemble’s 8th annual Composition Competition, Yale's Alumni Association Prize and the Woods Chandler Memorial Prize.
Interested in the intersection of art, philosophy, and politics, Katherine’s particular fascination with the writings of J.J. Rousseau, F. Nietzsche, and Baron de Montesquieu has led to grants from Tufts’ Summer Scholars fund, the Undergraduate Research fund, a presentation at the Northeastern Political Science Association conference in Philadelphia, and publication in the History of European Ideas. Katherine was also recipient of Tufts' Albert H. Imlah history prize, the Russell E. Miller history prize, the Peter Belfer prize in political science, and the Class of 1942 Prize Scholarship for excellence in teaching. In 2013, she was a Tikvah Project summer fellow at Princeton University.
Explorations of political philosophy, history, and the relationship of the artist to society remain an important part of her musical identity. Katherine received her B.A/ B.M in the Tufts/ New England Conservatory double degree program, where she double majored in history and political science at Tufts (summa cum laude) and studied composition at NEC (academic honors). Alongside teacher's assistantships at both schools, Katherine directed Tuesday Night New Music, NEC's student composer's series, for three years. Her principal teachers were Kati Agócs, John McDonald, and Stratis Minakakis. She recently completed her M.M at Yale School of Music as a Charles H. Ditson fellow, where she studied with Aaron Jay Kernis, Chris Theofanidis, and David Lang, and will begin her D.M.A in composition at Columbia University in the fall as a Dean's Fellow, studying with Georg Haas. Passionate about education at all levels, she is a faculty member of the Walden School in Dublin, New Hampshire.