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Katherine YoungAssistant Professor of Composition

*** Dr. Young will be on leave fall 2024 ***

Katherine Young makes electroacoustic music and sonic art using expressive noises, curious timbres, and kinetic structures. Her work has been recognized by awards and fellowships including a Fromm Foundation at Harvard University Commission and the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition. 

Relationship building and ecological thinking are central to her practice. She has worked closely with Yarn/Wire, Wet Ink, Ensemble Nikel, Linda Jankowska, Olivia De Prato, Weston Olencki, and others. The LAPhil, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Third Coast Percussion, Ensemble Dal Niente, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, and other ensembles and festivals have commissioned her music. The University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art has commissioned her installation work.  

As a bassoonist and improviser, Katherine amplifies her instrument and employs a flexible electronics setup. Her debut solo album garnered praise in The Wire (“Bassoon colossus”) and Downbeat (“seriously bold leaps for the bassoon”). Katherine performs regularly in ad hoc improvised groups and with projects such as Beautifulish (duo with Sam Scranton) and Architeuthis Walks on Land (duo with Amy Cimini). She has documented her work on numerous recordings, including her quartet Pretty Monsters self-titled debut and a duo recording with Anthony Braxton.  

Katherine’s research interests include the incorporation of idiosyncratic electronics and improvisation in contemporary notated music. She has written, in particular, about Anthony Braxton’s operatic work.  

Katherine earned her DMA in Composition from Northwestern and MA in Composition from Wesleyan University. Her undergraduate studies at Oberlin College and Conservatory were in Comparative Literature and Bassoon Performance. Katherine taught composition, electronic music, and improvisation at School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Berklee College of Music, before joining the faculty of Emory University. 

Courses Taught: 

  • MUS 235 Improvisation Laboratory 
  • MUS 349R Composition 
  • MUS 370 Film Composition 
  • MUS 445 Orchestration