...just as notable is the skill with which Balch writes for the orchestra, filling her score with engaging instrumental knickknacks and nuggets of imaginative whimsy that come at the listener from every corner of the stage. She’s like some kind of musical Thomas Edison — you can just hear her tinkering around in her workshop, putting together new sounds and textural ideas... the concerto’s lustrous, beating heart is its second movement, after the Capriccio No. 6 of Paganini. Here the violinist does almost nothing but sustain a long trill — but it’s a trill full of color and variety, which the soloist turns as if holding a jewel up to the light. The orchestra, meanwhile, whispers sweet enchantments into the audience’s ear, from little ticktock insinuations to gently smeared tonal harmonies. It’s a short but breathtakingly beautiful stretch...
San Francisco Chronicle: Katherine Balch doesn’t think a concerto is just for the soloist
Katherine Balch is a fascinating composer, of the newer sort...there is an a-temporal lack of forward motion in much that I have heard, but I would not call it eternity, or even stillness. She often seems governed by the duration and cycle of inhale/exhale. As the Lovin’ Spoonful once sang, “I don’t know what it is, but it sure is soft and strong.”
Ojai Welcomes cellist Zlatomir Fung
...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: Borrowed Batons
Portland Mercury: A New Kind of Classic
Chamber Music at Tanglewood: From Bach to Balch
…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: California Symphony Shows Ambition and Vivacity in Season Finale
KDFC: California Symphony's Composer-in-Residence
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.
SFGate on California Symphony season closer
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.’
Interview with Irene Kim of Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra
Mercury News: California Symphony Unveils a timely new work
This is vividly imagined music, and Cabrera and the orchestra gave it a terse, evocative reading.
Broadway World: California Symphony Announces Season Finale
Mercury News on California Symphony Composer-in-Residence
...a superbly gifted composer... a compositional voice that is truly unique and full of wonder. Her music is always searching for something innovative and heartfelt...
California Symphony Composer-in-Residence press release
Marissa Ewing on Young Concert Artists Presents: Anthony Trionfo
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 Symphony Orchestra's American Music Festival
…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...
Contemporaneous Brings "Transcendental Geometry" to Brooklyn
La Scene on New York Festival of Song
VAN magazine: an intro to Katherine Balch
ACO SoundAdvice Blog Underwood Readings Q&A
Ensemble Intercontemporain Composer Spotlight
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.
Antico Moderno focuses on fresh sounds for period instruments
Bypassing the Nineteenth Century
Humanistic Research Reveals New Connection Between Rousseau and Montesquieu
Tufts Alumni Magazine: Character Sketch
Tufts Alumni Magazine
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.
Contemporary Ensemble Cheered by Compatriots
After Mahler, Lots