Guest Composer Spotlight: Marcos Balter

The Mizzou New Music Initiative is pleased to welcome Marcos Balter as a Guest Composer for the 2023 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

As part of MICF, he will present his music and work closely with the resident composers through private lessons and a workshop.

Alarm Will Sound will perform the world premiere of Balter’s Code-Switching on Thursday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Missouri Theatre. On Friday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m., the Mizzou New Music Ensemble will perform his work Ligare, along with music by Tania León, Kevin Day, and Santiago Beis.

Whether he’s composing works for solo instruments, chamber music, orchestral works, or electroacoustic pieces, Balter’s deeply emotional yet intellectually rewarding music blurs the line between modernism and post-modernism.

The newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo called Balter a “creator of unpredictable works” and “perhaps the most exciting Brazilian composer of his generation. The Chicago Tribune noted his “wickedly original sense of humor and fiercely imaginative palette of instrumental and vocal sounds.”

Marcos Balter

Balter is the Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition at Columbia University. Previously, he has held professorships at the University of California San Diego, Montclair State University, and Columbia College of Chicago, as well as other visiting professorships and fellowships.

Recent performances of his music include those at Carnegie Hall, Köln Philharmonie, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, ArtLab at Harvard University, Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Hall, Teatro Amazonas, Sala São Paulo, Park Avenue Armory, Miller Theater, Villa Medici, Teatro de Madrid, Bâtiment de Forces Motrices de Genève, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago.

Balter often tailors his compositions to accentuate the abilities and characteristics of the musicians for whom they are written, including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, flautist Claire Chase, and violist Nadia Sirota. Other collaborators include the rock band Deerhoof, DJ King Britt and Alarm Will Sound, yMusic and Paul Simon, JACK Quartet, Orquestra Experimental da Amazonas Filarmonica, American Contemporary Music Ensemble, American Composers Orchestra, and conductors Karina Canellakis, Susanna Malkki, Matthias Pintscher, and Steven Schick.

His honors include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Music Award, fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and the Tanglewood Music Center (Leonard Bernstein Fellow), and two Chamber Music America awards. His work has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Chicago Symphony Music Now, The Crossing, and Meet the Composer, among others.

“I’m excited that Marcos Balter will be joining us for the 2023 Mizzou International Composers Festival.” said Stefan Freund, Artistic Director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative. “I look forward to working with him on his new piece Code-Switching, as well as on Ligare. Marcos is known as a polystylistic composer and these two works demonstrate his impressive expressive range.”

You can hear samples of Balter’s work on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and other online streaming services.