“Chambers, by Marcos Balter was, for me, the standout. Mr. Balter’s music tends to be both rigorous in construction and playful in overall effect. In his program note, he wrote of his interest in creating an aural illusion of forces larger than those on stage. He achieved this in the delirium of the third movement, which seemed to draw from the static opening movement and the more staggered patterns of the second – while adding something newly mystical.”
– Seth Colter Walls, The New York Times.
“Creator of unpredictable works, Marcos Balter is perhaps the most exciting Brazilian composer of his generation. His output is at once consistent and multifaceted.”
– Leandro Oliveira, O Estado de Sao Paulo.
“Balter’s music evolves slowly, creating vivid emotional contexts and inviting the listener to savor sounds.”
– Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post.
“Chase not only play but sings, speaks, and acts; the work feels like an extension of her torrential spirit. Yet Pan is more than a virtuoso vehicle. Having participated in a performance of a portion of the piece, I can attest that the experience is peculiarly exhilarating. The cult of the godlike artist gives way to a collective ceremony – art as grassroots action.”
– Alex Ross, The New Yorker.
“Alternately brooding and aggressive, “Dark Rooms” began with the players – Joshua Azenberg, Jordan Holley, Jeffrey Kautz and Jessica Tsang – dragging the wooden tips of their mallets up and down marimba keys, drawing a sound that was sharply keening yet muted, like screams in a distant room. Mr. Balter showed skill at juxtaposing textures milky and twinkling and at subtly modulating pace, not by changing the tempo but by adding and subtracting different layers of sound.”
– Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times.
“Balter has a wickedly original sense of humor and a fiercely imaginative palette of instrumental and vocal sounds rare in today’s dour, post-classical new music.”
– John von Rheim, The Chicago Tribune.
“Balter produces new music – all gemstone-polished – at a rate other composers marvel at.”
– Graham Meyer, Chicago Magazine.
“Marcos Balter’s captivating 2013 “Pessoa” employs odd, husky tones of six bass flutes. [Claire] Chase seems to hiss, stutter and whirr through the instrument as well as latch on to melodic elements with natural musicality. At various points a main voice seems surrounded by percussive popping sounds, like splatters of paint on a canvas, as well as the buzz of swarming insects, but only flutes are used.”
– Ronni Reich, The Star-Ledger.
“The evening’s new work, Chambers, a three-movement piece commissioned from Chicago-based composer Marcos Balter, proved a mesmerizing plunge into icy musical depths. (…) This is a gorgeous piece, well worth hearing again.”
– Wynne Delacoma, Musical America.
“…(Spektral Quartet’s album) ends with Mr. Balter’s “Chambers,” which shivers, swans and pulsates in a spellbinding three-movement sequence.”
– Steve Smith, The New York Times.
“(Balter) specifies the use of artificial reverb in the score, then uses the disembodied, artificially balanced sound that results to create a series of uncanny sonic illusions by writing in ranges where the instrumental timbres become nearly indistinguishable. Even sitting in the first row at a live performance, I found it difficult to tell which notes were coming from New York Philharmonic flutist Alex Sopp, and which from the trumpet of C.J. Camerieri; and a pair of consecutive notes resulting from the overlap of figures played by Sopp and clarinetist Hideaki Aomori sounded as if they were coming from the same instrument. (…) For Balter, writing a piece to suit an ensemble and its audience is common sense. (…) Part minimalist meditation, part spectralist experiment; written for classical virtuosos, premiered in a bar – and succeeding on each of those levels without stooping to compromise – Bladed Stance is a musical vindication of that philosophy.”
– Daniel Stephen Johnson, Chamber Music Magazine.
“Marcos Balter’s 2005 ‘Raw Item’ had both intricate clarity and a convincing trajectory – with a solo oboe (James Austin Smith, confident and controlled) spurring mutable sonic orreries from an instrumental quartet, the piece reached a kind of furious repose, a virtuosic equilibrium of colliding particles.”
– Matthew Guerrieri, The Boston Globe.
“First on the program, Marcos Balter’s ‘Edgewater’ was like a bucket of ice water to the face – and I mean that in the best way possible. (…) It was a short jolt of electricity, economically constructed, and masterfully focused and expressive.”
– Thomas Deneuville, Chamber Musician Today.
“Mr. Balter’s “Strohbass” pairs Mr. Muncy on baritone saxophone with Claire Chase on bass flute, both purring, popping and fluttering in an eerie pas de deux.”
– Steve Smith, The New York Times.
“Even when only playing single notes, as in Marcos Balter’s new composition (“Pois que nada que dure, ou que durando”), the guitarist gives energy to each individual vibration of the string. You could see him breathing hard while Bartlett sang the words to a Fernando Pessoa poem, her first time singing in Portugese. The effect was sexy and devastating.”
– Sam Zelitch, I Care If You Listen.