Composer Katherine Balch, in demand at orchestras from California to Indiana

Posted on: October 11, 2019

“The 2019-20 season is filled with a number of exciting commissions and residencies for Katherine Balch,” writes Lauren Alfano in Thursday’s (10/10) “In March, Donato Cabrera will lead the California Symphony (where Balch is Composer-In-Residence) in the world premiere of Illuminations, a song cycle for three voices and orchestra. Q: What can we expect to hear in these new works? Balch: My last California Symphony commission … centers around excerpts regarding female protagonists in Arthur Rimbaud’s Les Illuminations, paired with resonating texts by Sharon Olds, Adrienne Rich, Alejandra Pizarnik, and Anne Carson’s Sappho translations…. My short piece for Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra [in January] will be paired with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Something that’s so striking about that Symphony … is its surprising use of space. Q: Which composers … do you draw the most inspiration from? Balch: Oh, where to start? Stream-of-conscious: Beethoven, Schubert, Unsuk Chin, György Ligeti, Gerard Grisey, Kaija Saariaho, Zosha Di Castri, … Meredith Monk, Debussy, Ravel, Pérotin, all of my teachers…. Lately, I’ve been listening to more Anthony Braxton after being turned into stupefied, tingling jelly by a performance of some of his Ghost Trance Music I heard this summer by International Contemporary Ensemble.”

Posted October 11, 2019