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Miller Theatre to Open 2017-18 'Composer Portraits' Series with Marcos Balter

Miller Theatre to Open 2017-18 'Composer Portraits' Series with Marcos Balter

Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts opens its 2017-18 Composer Portraits series with Marcos Balter, featuring International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and an A-list of soloists performing Balter's humorous, sensual work, including two pieces composed for ICE. The evening will include an onstage discussion with Marcos Balter and Claire Chase.

It all takes place on Thursday, November 16, 2017, 8:00 p.m. at Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116th Street). Tickets: $20-$30 • Students with valid ID: $7-$18.

From Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey: "It's an honor to present the 19th season of Composer Portraits at Miller Theatre, and I'm thrilled to kick off our flagship series with the music of Marcos Balter. I've long admired his work and the close relationships he's forged with the musicians for whom he composes. International Contemporary Ensemble is a frequent collaborator for us both, and they'll bring an all-star lineup for this occasion."

"I am lucky to always know who will be premiering my works while I am writing them," says Marcos Balter.

It seems only fitting that this Portrait features the International Contemporary Ensemble, for whom Balter has written numerous works spanning more than a decade. Wickedly humorous, colorful, and unapologetically sensual, Balter's music has earned him a passionate following. These elements are showcased in a program that includes Descent from Parnassus and Codex Seraphinianus, two works written specifically for ICE.

Violin Concerto (2016)
Landscape of Fear (2015)
Codex Seraphinianus (2014)
Pois que nada que dure, ou que durando (2013) New York premiere
Descent from Parnassus (2012)
Raw Item (2005)

Marcos Balter, composer
Tony Arnold, soprano
David Bowlin, violin
Claire Chase, flute
International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
David Fulmer, conductor

About Marcos Balter ( - Praised by The New York Times as "whimsical" and "surreal," the music of composer Marcos Balter 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 Carnegie Hall, 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. His works are published by Schott NY, and commercial recordings of his music are available through New Amsterdam Records, New Focus Recording, Parlour Tapes+, and Navona Records.

He graduated with school and departmental honors from 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, Lawrence University, and Columbia College Chicago, he is currently an Associate Professor of Music Composition at Montclair State University.

About International Contemporary Ensemble ( - The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced. As performer, curator, and educator, ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The ensemble's 35 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Works by emerging composers have anchored ICE's programming since its founding in 2001, and the group's recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music's present.

A recipient of the American Music Center's Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as artists-in-residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ICE has been featured at the Ojai Music Festival since 2015, and has appeared at festivals abroad such as Acht Brücken Cologne and Musica nova Helsinki. Other recent performance stages include the Park Avenue Armory, The Stone, ice floes at Greenland's Diskotek Sessions, and boats on the Amazon River.

New initiatives include OpenICE, made possible with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which offers free concerts and related programming wherever ICE performs, and enables a working process with composers to unfold in public settings. DigitICE catalogues the ensemble's performances in a free online streaming video library. ICE's First Page program is a commissioning consortium that fosters close collaborations between performers, composers, and listeners as new music is developed. EntICE, a side-by-side youth program, places ICE musicians within youth orchestras as they premiere new commissioned works together. Inaugural EntICE partners include Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and The People's Music School in Chicago. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE.

For the complete 2017-2018 season schedule, visit Columbia University's Miller Theatre is located north of the Main Campus Gate at 116th St. & Broadway on the ground floor of Dodge Hall. Directions and information are available online at or via the Miller Theatre Box Office, at 212.854.7799.

Pictured: Marcos Balter in the Miller Theatre lobby. Photo by Matt Zugale for Miller Theatre.

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