Katherine Balch (b. 1991) writes music that aims to capture the intimacy of existence through sound. Often influenced by extra-musical arts, philosophy, and literature, she seeks a heterogenous yet formally cohesive aesthetic driven by attention to detail, textural lyricism, and playful sonic investigations.
Called “breathtakingly beautiful” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “a shimmering sonic blanket quilted from microswaths of richly colored acoustic fabrics,” (Oregon ArtsWatch) the music of Katherine Balch seeks to create intimate sonic environments driven by attention to detail and playful investigation of sounds. Katherine's work has been commissioned and performed by the Tokyo, Minnesota, Oregon, and Albany Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, American Composer's Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Antico Moderno, the JACK, Argus, Aizuri, and FLUX Quartets, International Contemporary Ensemble, wild Up, Bearthoven, Contemporaneous, and Concert Artists Guild, among others, in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall, Wiener Konzerthaus (Vienna), and Suntory Hall (Tokyo). Projects for the 2019-2020 season include a song cycle for voices and orchestra for the California Symphony and a new work for Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as part of its celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.
Katherine is currently Composer-in-Residence with the California Symphony, a three-year position she will hold through 2020. She is managed by Young Concert Artists Inc., where she was the 2017-2019 composer-in-residence. Recent recognitions include fellowships from Aspen, Norfolk, Fontainebleau, Tanglewood, IRCAM Manifeste, and Santa Fe music festivals, multiple awards from ASCAP and BMI, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and commissioning grants from Chamber Music America and the Barlow Foundation. Her chamber music is published by Schott PSNY.
Katherine received her B.A. / B.M. in the Tufts / New England Conservatory double degree program, where she studied history and political science at Tufts (summa cum laude) and composition at NEC. Her research has been published in the History of European Ideas. Explorations of political philosophy, history, and the relationship of the artist to society remain an important part of her musical identity. She 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 is currently pursuing her D.M.A. as a Dean's Fellow at Columbia University, where her mentors include George Lewis, Georg Haas, Fred Lerdahl and Marcos Balter.
Passionate about education at all levels, she has been a faculty member of the Walden School in Dublin, New Hampshire and Bard College-Conservatory preparatory in the Hudson Valley. When not making or listening to music, Katherine enjoys cooking, playing with her cat, Zarathustra, various combinations of espresso and steamed milk, and the outdoors.
Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "some kind of musical Thomas Edison — you can just hear her tinkering around in her workshop, putting together new sounds and textural ideas," Katherine Balch (b.1991) writes music that seeks to create intimate sonic environments driven by attention to detail, textural lyricism, and playful investigation of sounds. Her work has been commissioned and performed by the Tokyo, Minnesota, Oregon, Albany and California Symphony Orchestras, l'Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France, Ensemble Intercontemporain, International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Argus, Aizuri and JACK quartets, among others, and has been featured on IRCAM’s Manifeste (Paris, France), Festival MANCA (Nice, France), Suntory Summer Arts (Tokyo, Japan), Tanglewood, Aspen, Fontainebleau, Norfolk, and Santa Fe music festivals. Katherine is the 2017-2020 composer-in-residence for the California Symphony, and is managed by Young Concert Artists, Inc., where she was the 2017-2019 composer-in-residence. Recent recognitions include awards from ASCAP, BMI, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Chamber Music USA and the Barlow Foundation. She is currently pursuing her D.M.A. at Columbia University, where she has studied with George Lewis, Georg Haas, Fred Lerdahl, and Marcos Balter. Her chamber music is published by Schott PSNY.