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piccolo/flute, clarinet, saxophone, violin, cello, piano

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featured works

c. 9 minutes

cowbells, woodblocks, tom-toms, brake drums

c. 9 minutes

Joel Kirk is a composer of contemporary classical chamber music. He holds a PhD in music composition from the University at Buffalo where he studied as a Presidential Fellow under David Felder and Jonathan Golove. 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, Ensemble Court Circuit, Ensemble Écoute, Tempus Konnex, Barcelona Modern, the SEM Ensemble, ensemble Suono Gialo, Ensemble Tacet(i), 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 collective The Academic Complex, who regularly perform new work by composers residing in the Western New York area.

Joel has received numerous awards and fellowships for his academic, artistic, and pedagogical work. Recent accolades include Ensemble Écoute's 2023 Young Composer Commission, alongside the John Golland Award and a prestigious ASCAP Morton Gould Award in 2022. He was also a finalist for the 2023 MATA Festival and received a nomination for a 2024 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award. He has had works performed at festivals and concert series such as the RNCM Brass Band Festival, June in Buffalo, the Remus Georgescu International Festival, ilSUONO Contemporary Music Week, the Barcelona Modern Festival, the Divertimento Ensemble Rondò, IntAct, Tempus Konnex ICE Week, and the CeReNeM Concert Series. 

Culturally, Joel's music is influenced by the confluence of Manchester’s industrial city centre against the backdrop of the rugged, rural Lancashire moors. It is a place where the mechanical and the pastoral are deeply intertwined. Through his lifetime, Joel has seen Manchester transform from a derelict, post-industrial wasteland to a cosmopolitan, gentrified hub of thriving media industry. The confluence of human, natural, and machine has manifest in his work via exploring interactions between humans, spaces, instruments, and technology through various mediated circumstances. In recent works, Joel has made innovative use of notation, click-tracks, and staging in order to do this. Joel’s music is highly mechanical in nature, exploring sound-worlds of pops, squeaks, glitches, grindings, and whirrings. In 2023, Joel is looking forward to performances by Ensemble Écoute (France), Talujon Percussion (USA), the RNCM Brass Band (UK), Rosamund Brass (UK), Buffalo Silver Band (USA), Percussion Duo Moitié (KOR), and Ensemble Percutissimo (ROU). He is also writing a book chapter for the upcoming volume Adapting Horror in Popular Culture (2024) alongside seeing a publication in A Critical Companion to Wes Craven (2023). 

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