Joel's interest in composition stems from the social anxieties associated with having a speech impediment as a child and living as an LGBTQIA+ identifying individual in today’s still somewhat polarized society. He is primarily interested in anxiety, irritation, awkwardness and the grotesque/macabre as key points of inspiration for imagining, creating, and developing material. Ranging from the highly mechanical to the extremely untethered, his pieces occupy floating, ethereal sound-worlds where performers must work together to urgently negotiate their way through dense clouds of uncertain activity.
Joel is currently studying for a PhD at SUNY Buffalo under David Felder, holding a Presidential Fellowship and a Social Impact Fellowship. He also teaches undergraduate musicology at SUNY Buffalo alongside his PhD studies. He previously studied at the University of Huddersfield under Aaron Cassidy, reading orchestration with Lucy Pankhurst. Joel has worked with internationally renowned ensembles including the Arditti Quartet, ELISION, the Divertimento Ensemble, Tempus Konnex, Barcelona Modern, the SEM Ensemble, ensemble Suono Gialo, loadbang, and Ensemble Signal. Virtuoso soloists he has worked with include Roberta Michel (flute), Teagan Faran (violin), and Lorenzo Gorli (violin). He is also a founding member of the Buffalo-based new music ensemble The Academic Complex, and regularly performs new work with them by composers residing in the Western New York area.
At the end of his studies at Huddersfield, Joel received the J Wood & Sons Prize for acoustic composition and the Crabtree Prize for all-around achievement. He was a finalist in loadbang's 2021 commission competition and, most recently, won the 2022 John Golland Award and a prestigious ASCAP Morton Gould Award. He has had works performed at festivals and concert series such as the RNCM Festival of Brass, June in Buffalo, ilSUONO Contemporary Music Week, the Barcelona Modern Festival, Divertimento Ensemble Rondò, and the CeReNeM Concert Series. He has also attended masterclasses with world-renowned composers such as Mark Andre, Augusta Read Thomas, Marco Stroppa, Stefano Gervasoni, Petr Kótik, Ed Campion, and Clara Iannotta.
In 2022, Joel is looking forward to international performances by Tempus Konnex (Germany), ensemble Suono Gialo (Italy), the Barcelona Modern Ensemble (Spain), the RNCM Brass Ensemble (UK), Rosamund Brass (UK), the Divertimento Ensemble (Italy), the Roadrunner Trio (Netherlands), and the Academic Complex (USA).