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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. Most recently, he won Ensemble Écoute's 2023 Commission Competition, alongside the John Golland Award and a prestigious ASCAP Morton Gould Award in 2022. He was also a finalist for the 2023 MATA Festival. He has had works performed at festivals and concert series such as the RNCM Brass Band Festival, June in Buffalo, ilSUONO Contemporary Music Week, the Barcelona Modern Festival, the Divertimento Ensemble Rondò, IntAct, Tempus Konnex ICE Week, 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, Ann Cleare, and Clara Iannotta.

Joel is primarily interested in anxiety, irritation, awkwardness and the grotesque/macabre as key points of inspiration for his music. 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. 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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