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Katherine Bergman


Katherine Bergman is a Minnesota-based composer who draws on literature, environmentalism, and found materials to create music that has been described as hypnotic and visceral. She has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles throughout the United States, including the U.S. Coast Guard Band, Encore Wind Ensemble, Duke University Wind Symphony, Zeitgeist, Seen/Heard Trio, the Minnesota Percussion Trio, The Dream Songs Project, and many others. Her works have been presented at the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, The Midwest Clinic, College Band Directors National Association Conference, and The Upper Midwest Chamber Winds Symposium, and her compositions have received support from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the Metro Regional Arts Council.

Katherine holds a master’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa School of Music, where she studied composition with Jonathan Schwabe and Alan Schmitz. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota with composition instructors including Michele Gillman and Steve Wright. She has studied extensively with Mary Ellen Childs, and has received individual instruction from Samuel Adler. Recent and upcoming projects include new works for Hub New Music, Nautilus Music-Theater, and a new work for wind ensemble commissioned by a consortium of university and high school bands.

Katherine is Co-Founder and Artistic Co-Director of Spitting Image, a composer collective that brings together composers, listeners, and performers to strengthen the Twin Cities contemporary music community. 

Dream Machine

The meaning behind Dream Machine (2016) is two-fold. In one sense, the title suggests the brain is a “dream machine,” generating odd, otherworldly landscapes when neural activity reaches a certain state. Simultaneously, it refers to a physical art piece designed by artist Brion Gysin called the “Dreamachine.” The Dreamachine is a phonograph-driven stroboscope described as “the first art object to be seen with the eyes closed” and is intended to affect the viewer’s brain alpha wave activity.

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Mimetic / Older, Younger, Both

“Mimetic” and “Older, Younger, Both” are two songs on texts by Joyce Sutphen, composed for Seen/Heard Trio (Megan Ihnen, mezzo-soprano; Erika Boysen, flute; Jennifer R. Ellis, harp)

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Land of Cloud-Tinted Water

Land of Cloud-Tinted Water (2016) is a musical portrayal of the beauty and diversity of five wilderness areas throughout the state of Minnesota: Voyageurs National Park, Superior Hiking Trail, Solana State Forest, Blue Mounds State Park, and Itasca State Park.

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NewMusicBox Articles

Articles January 10 2018 | By Katherine Bergman
Stepping Forward at the Midwest Clinic

While still on the fence about attending the Midwest Clinic, the largest international band and orchestra conference in the world, I was pointed to a Facebook post from composer John...