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Marcos Balter


Praised by The Chicago Tribune as "minutely crafted" and "utterly lovely," The New York Times as "whimsical" and "surreal," and The Washington Post as "dark and deeply poetic," the music of composer Marcos Balter (b.1974, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is at once emotionally visceral and intellectually complex, primarily rooted in experimental manipulations of timbre and hyper-dramatization of live performance. His works have been featured worldwide in venues such as the Köln Philharmonie, the French Academy at Villa Medici, New World Symphony Center, Park Avenue Armory, Teatro de Madrid, Tokyo Bunka Kaykan, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Teatro Amazonas, Le Poison Rouge, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago. Recent festival appearances include those at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, Ecstatic Music Festival, Acht Brücken, Aldeburgh Music Festival, Lockenhaus Kammermusikfestival, Aspen, ACO's SONiC Festival, Frankfurter Gesellschaft für Neue Musik, Darmstadt Ferienkurse, Color Field, Musica Nova, and MATA's Interval Series. Past honors include commissions from Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, The Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, The Holland/America Music Society, The MacArthur Foundation, and the Art Institute of Chicago, fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Tanglewood Music Center/Leonard Bernstein Foundation, and Civitella Ranieri Foundation, as well as first prizes in several national and international composition competitions. 

Highlights in 2013-2014 include new works for the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, American Composers Orchestra, yMusic, Amazonas Filarmonica, Orquestra Bachiana Filarmonica SESI-SP, Camerata de Curitiba Choir and String Orchestra, violist Nadia Sirota, saxophonist Ryan Muncy, flutist Claire Chase and percussionist Svet Stoyanov, appearances at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNOW, Look & Listen Festival, the Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players's Sweet Thunder Festival, guest residencies at the 2013 Bienal Musica Hoje and at the 2013 Mount Tremper Music Festival, inclusion in commercial recording releases by yMusic, Spektral Quartet, bassoonist Rebekah Heller, cellist Chris Wild, percussionist Samuel Solomon, saxophonist Ryan Muncy, and soprano Amanda DeBoer, performances by the Mivos Quartet, Anubis Saxophone Quartet, ensemble, saxophonist Zach Shemon, and others in venues in North and South America, Europe, and Asia, as well as composition lectures, guest concerts, and master classes in several institutions and music festivals in North and South America. 

Recent collaborators include the rock band Deerhoof, Ensemble Dal Niente, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Orquestra Experimental da Amazonas Filarmonica, American Contemporary Music Ensemble, Chicago Q Ensemble, tenor Peter Tantsits, soprano Tony Arnold, Third Coast Percussion, Ensemble SurPlus, Fonema Ensemble, Anaphora Ensemble, and conductors Steven Schick, Cliff Colnot, Scott Voyles, Eric Hewitt, Michael Lewanski, Federico Sardella, and Mathew Kasper. 

He graduated with school and departmental honors at Northwestern University where his main teachers were Augusta Read Thomas, Amy Williams, and Jay Alan Yim. Guest instructors in master classes and festivals include Louis Andriessen, George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, Oliver Knussen, Christian Lauba, Tristan Murail, Enno Poppe, Bernard Rands, Wolfgang Rihm, and Kaija Saariaho. 

Having previously taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Northwestern University, and Lawrence University, he is currently the Director of the Music Composition program at Columbia College Chicago.