Constructing Thought, One Note at a Time
Musically, I am a “synthesist” - someone who is fascinated by all types of music regardless of genre or style, or whether it is narrative or abstract in nature. When I was a kid, I loved jazz and rock and later discovered classical music. But, as a composition student, I was urged by several of my teachers to specialize among my musical activities – to choose between musical theater/rock or concert music. I resisted and instead resolved to synthesize, rather than compartmentalize my creative work. I have composed music for the concert hall (small and large ensembles), and for musical theater, opera, dance, film, jazz, and rock. My thinking is constantly refreshed through collaborations, teaching activities, and new creative projects.
What a cool surprise! A student group, under the direction of the amazing sax player Noah Getz, is workshopping one of my Emily Songs: an art song-bossa nova setting of Emily Dickinson’s “Heart! We Will Forget Him!” It’s a fun group of young musicians (vocal, sax, guitar, bass, and drums). Sound Collage, Sunday April 27th at 3pm (Abramson Recital Hall).
I’m thrilled to announce that as of this fall I will be Visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown University for the 2014-15 academic year. I will be joining distinguished colleagues in the Department of Performing Arts (music) including Anna Celenza, Angel Gil-Ordònèz, Anthony DelDonna, and Lura Johnson. I will teaching composition, theory, and a song writing seminar.
Joel offers a clear-eyed assessment of The Beatles’ work and career as they developed from a local cover band to arguably some of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Seen from the unique perspective of a composer, Joel focuses on the key differentiator that sets the band apart: its creative output. History, analysis, influences, outtakes, technology. It’s all there.