Joseph Sowa (b. 1984) writes new music for Classically trained performers. His works have been played by the BYU Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, the PRISM Quartet, the Lydian String Quartet, the Quartetto Indaco, the Awea Duo, the Tower Duo, Jaren Hinckley, Daniel Stepner, and Charity Tillemann-Dick, among others.
He has been commissioned by performers including the Genesis Chamber Singers, the Farallon Quintet, Douglas Bush, Carolyn Hove, Neil Thornock, and Arianna Tieghi as well as foundations including the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, the Laycock Endowment for Creative Collaboration in the Arts.
Joseph Sowa (b. 1984) grew up playing violin and listening to orchestral broadcasts on NPR. Surrounded by these sounds, he wanted to make more of them. Bruckner, Prokofiev, Ravel, Stravinsky, and John Williams, as well as Adès, Carter, Feldman, Knussen, and Webern are all influences.
He has been commissioned by performers including the Genesis Chamber Singers, the Farallon Quintet, Douglas Bush, Carolyn Hove, Neil Thornock, and Arianna Tieghi as well as foundations including the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, the Laycock Endowment for Creative Collaboration in the Arts. His arrangement of “For the Beauty of the Earth” was recorded by soprano Charity Tillemann-Dick on her album American Grace, which debuted no. 1 on the Billboard® “Traditional Classical” chart.
His music has been performed in Europe by the Quartetto Indaco, Arianna Tieghi, and Douglas Bush and throughout the United States by the Awea Duo, the BYU Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, the Lydian String Quartet, and the Tower Duo, as well as by Ron Brough, Douglas Bush, Eric Hansen, Jaren Hinckley, Scott Holden, Jed Moss, Ray Smith, and Neil Thornock, among others.
Joseph is currently a PhD candidate (ABD) in composition and theory at Brandeis University. He also holds BM and MM degrees in composition from Brigham Young University. He has also attend the EAMA, Brevard, and highSCORE summer music festivals. He has written papers about James Tenney, Harrison Birtwistle, and the antipodean phrase “sweet as.” His research interests include musical cognition, 18th-century continuo and partimenti practice, and algorithmic composition. He has co-taught the class “Star Wars: How Long Ago? How Far Away?” and dreams of writing a piece for tuba ensemble.
What My Collaborators Have To Say
”I had the good fortune of performing two of Joseph Sowa’s works last year. ‘Ginger‘ and ‘night flocks of angels trumpet’ both reveal a searching, poetic ear and are very well written for the instruments.”
Lydian String Quartet
“He has a sensitive ear and discerning grasp of what individual musical lines convey. . . . One thing that I loved about working with Joseph was how readily he accommodated my own suggestions for the music. I felt like it was a true collaboration.”
”His work is fast, effective, and he collaborates exceptionally well. A gifted composer, arranger and collaborator with exceptional finishing skills and an eye for detail. One of the most reliable and thoughtful musicians around.”
Soprano and Writer