Joel Kirk is a composer studying for a PhD at SUNY Buffalo under David Felder. He previously studied at the University of Huddersfield under Aaron Cassidy. His pieces have been workshopped and performed by ensembles such as The Arditti Quartet, ELISION, loadbang, Yarn/Wire, line upon line percussion, the SEM Ensemble, and the Moreau-Van Tuinen Duo. At the end of his studies at Huddersfield, he received the J Wood & Sons Prize for acoustic composition and the Crabtree Prize for all-around achievement. He was selected for the SEM Ensemble’s 2018 Emerging Composers Workshop with Petr Kótik, and his paper “Initial approaches to idiomatic contemporary writing for a musical instrument: discovering methods of practice-based research” was published in the Fields 2018 issue.


Joel's interest in composition stems from having a speech impediment as a child. He is primarily interested in anxiety, irritation, awkwardness and the grotesque/macabre as key points of inspiration for imagining, creating, and developing material. His pieces occupy extremely untethered, floating sound-worlds which create situations where performers must work together to urgently negotiate their way through clouds of uncertain activity.