In the News

...Märkl also issued a light-hearted warning: “there will be no melody, but very beautiful sound experiences, very unique.” ....Balch’s music was sparse and, as promised, amelodic. Yet it was a compelling amelodicism, a shimmering sonic blanket quilted from microswaths of richly colored acoustic fabrics, harmonic in an aggressively non-functional way, halfway between the John Adamses. Waves of dazzling brass, swelling out from muted trumpets and trombone glissandi, surging across the stage to the horns. A sine tone emerged from a pair of intent trumpets and threaded its way around the orchestra through wavering winds and spectralist strings...
— Oregon ArtsWatch
Scored for flute and piano, it is a spellbinding work that opens with a nervous energy that soon subsides into relative stillness...The transfixing sounds became the musical equivalent of thousands of random, iridescent flashes of light that punctuate the dark.
— Seen and Heard International
…Balch’s flittering string devices reminded me of the origami-delicate writing found in the quartets of Georg Haas, one of her teachers. Superimposed on this, though, wild brass glissandos and a healthy sprinkling of jazz harmony lent the piece a surprising levity, especially in light of its technical complexity. Balch has the ability to compose intellectually stimulating but emotionally transparent textures, of which a tight-voiced, legato string ascent before the climax provided the most shining example…
— SF Classical Voice
Keeping all those off-kilter rhythms together is conductor Donato Cabrera: ‘The piece itself is – and I think is kind of a trait of Katherine’s music – is that there’s a sense of playfulness, a sense of whimsy, that is so attractive and so beguiling, and really fun to delve into and figure out exactly how it’s working.’
— Classical KDFC
This is vividly imagined music, and Cabrera and the orchestra gave it a terse, evocative reading.
— SF Gate
Katherine Balch reimagined a slow-moving river journey aboard a barge in “drift” complete with nature sounds, rock scrappings, and shimmering currents captured by ingenious instrumental effects.
— Albany Daily Gazette
…Balch’s exquisite sound world in the first moments of the piece was constituted by layers of airy, fluttery sounds brushed across surfaces and across the strings inside the piano. Eventually, these flutters surged into a series of rushing, overlapping descending runs and patterns sliding this way and that, against a muted trombone in the background, until the final upward lilty wisp of sound...
— icareifyoulisten
The precocious talents of Katherine Balch transported one fragment of text by Michelangelo to an engaging narrative of complex intrigue that was realized with the virtuosity of soprano Justine Aronson and bassist Patrick Swoboda.
— LaScena
Katherine Balch performed her own Studies, which update Schoenberg with ever-so-slightly expansive harmonies and fragments of concerto-like virtuosic performance post-dating Prokofiev.
— Boston Music Intelligencer