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. Ensembles he has worked with include 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.