Katherine Young

Pretty Monsters


Composer and bassoonist Katherine Young creates acoustic and electro-acoustic music that uses curious timbres, expressive noises, and kinetic structures to explore the dramatic materiality of sound, constantly shifting ensemble energies, and the tension between the familiar and the strange. Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times described Katherine’s Inside UFO 53-32, as performed by the Flux Quartet, as a “raw, wailing, coloristic piece” with an “organic sweep.”

Recent projects include a new string quartet based on the opening scene from Once Upon a Time in the West, a piece for TimeTable percussion with Issue Project Room’s Emerging Artists Commission, and a commission for the String Orchestra of Brooklyn. Katherine also collaborated with choreographer Daria Fain and dancer Marya Wethers on TARGET: Furnace for solo dancer and three musicians. The piece had a week-long run at the Chocolate Factory, and The New York Times described the work as “full of absorbing elements: Katherine Young’s live original score …served as a lushly spare aural landscape…marvelously charged….” Katherine has documented her work on numerous recordings, including a 2009 solo bassoon release, Further Secret Origins on Porter Records, which garnered praise in The Wire(“Bassoon colossus”) and Downbeat (“seriously bold leaps for the bassoon”). Katherine’s solo project employs pedals and amplification, and she leads the quartet Pretty Monsters featuring bassoon, violin, electric guitar, and drums. Pretty Monsters' first record is due out in September on Public Eyesore.

Katherine has toured with Anthony Braxton, and she has recorded with Hans Joachim Irmler from Faust and F.M. Einheit from Einsturzende Neubauten. She is a founding member of the experimental chamber collective Till by Turning, and she performs regularly in the improvising duo Architeuthis Walks on Land, who released Natura Naturans on Carrier Records in 2010. Katherine also plays with the chamber-pop quartet the Fancy.

Other projects past and present include: British rockers the Nightingales; Jason Ajemian’s Who Cares How Long You Sink; the trio Civil War; Jacob Wick’s A Mown Lawn; Leah Paul's Bike Lane; Chicago-based pop band Roommate; and collaborations with musicians such as Jim Altieri, Tim Daisy, Peter Evans, Guillermo Gregorio, Mary Halvorson, Andrew Lafkas, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Matt Marble, Jeff Parker, Jessica Pavone, Dan Peck, Mike Pride, Tomeka Reid, Weasel Walter, and Jonathan Zorn.

At Oberlin College and Conservatory, Katherine studied bassoon performance and comparative literature; she completed her masters in composition at Wesleyan University, where she worked with Anthony Braxton, Ron Kuivila, and Alvin Lucier. Katherine is currently a DM candidate in composition at Northwestern University, working with Lee Hyla, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim.
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