Katherine was kind enough to answer a few questions about her piece and the upcoming workshops and readings.
|Composer Katherine Balch|
American Composers Orchestra: What was your reaction to finding out your piece had been selected for the Underwood New Music Readings?
Katherine Balch: I was very excited! I have heard wonderful things from past participants about the program and I’m grateful to get to experience it.
ACO: Your piece Leaf Catalog is an "ode to little netted veins," "emerald epidermi," "viridian curves and fern-green webs," which you describe quite poetically in your program note. What is your process for translating those ideas into music?
KB: I spend a lot of time drawing, sketching, and mapping out gestures and large-scale formal architecture before I start through-composing a piece. For Leaf Catalogue, I knew I wanted the first half to be built on simple, rhythmically charged motivic cells, and the second half to be a single, slow, continuous line. In this way, my piece loosely follows a process of zooming out onto a larger picture, where details gradually dissolve into the whole.
ACO: Leaf Catalogue was first performed in 2015 by the Yale Philharmonia and conductor Heejung Park. What changes, if any, have you made to the piece since then?
KB: I’ve adjusted a lot of tiny things, like dynamics, phrasing, and some registers in the brass writing, but the overall shape of the piece is the same.
|Excerpt from Leaf Catalogue score|
ACO: What do you hope to gain from the workshops, especially the feedback and guidance of mentor composers Derek Bermel, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Stephen Hartke?
KB: I’m looking forward to the feedback from these experienced composers, particularly with regards to orchestration and the orchestral rehearsal process. I hope to learn more about the orchestra and be inspired by my fellow colleagues and the mentor composers!
Find out more about Katherine at www.katherinebalch.com