Katherine Young

Composer and bassoonist Katherine Young creates acoustic and electro-acoustic music that uses curious timbres, rhythmic pressure, and kinetic structures to explore the dramatic physicality of sound, shifting interpersonal dynamics, and tensions between the familiar and the strange. The New York Times described her music as “raw, wailing, coloristic,” and New Music Box has noted “her visceral approach to sound; her organic use of repetition, structure, and pacing; her attentiveness to the smallest details of timbre; her adventurousness in using instruments in unexpected ways.”
Collaboration is fundamental to Katherine’s process. Working with violist Amy Cimini, violinist Erica Dicker, and pianist Emily Manzo in Till by Turning; violinist Austin Wulliman; choreographer Daria Fain and the Prosodic Body; trombonist Weston Olencki; and Linda Jankoska of Distractfold Ensemble have proven particularly significant.
As an improviser, Katherine amplifies her bassoon and employs a flexible electronics set-up. She has documented her work on numerous recordings. Her solo bassoon release garnered praise in The Wire (“Bassoon colossus”) and Downbeat (“seriously bold leaps for the bassoon”), and recently a shout-out in Mojo. About her 2012 release with her quartet Pretty Monsters, All About Jazz stated: “one of the most intriguing ensemble debuts in recent memory, a sonically audacious record documenting the development of a bold young artist whose arresting improvisations are as remarkable as her engaging compositions.” Most recently, Katherine released a duo recording with multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton and the third release as Architeuthis Walks on Land with Amy Cimini, recorded as Artists-In-Residence at Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute’s EMPAC. In addition, her installation-performance piece Diligence Is to Magic as Progress Is to Flight created with violinist Austin Wulliman, came out on Parlour Tapes+ as a stereo recording and do-it-yourself cassette installation box set.
At Oberlin College and Conservatory, Katherine studied bassoon performance and comparative literature; she completed her masters in composition at Wesleyan University,working with Anthony Braxton, Ron Kuivila, and Alvin Lucier. Katherine currently wrapping up her DMA in composition at Northwestern University, where she has worked with Hans Thomalla, Jay Alan Yim, Chris Mercer, and the late Lee Hyla.