Founder of the Wizarding School for Composers, Joseph Sowa draws on diverse influences — from linguistics to plainchant to American football — to create music focused on detailed textures and vivid colors. His music has been performed by professionals and amateurs alike, including groups such as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Dal Niente, the PRISM Quartet, Hub New Music, Collage New Music, the Genesis Chamber Singers, and middle and high schools across North America. He has received awards from ASCAP, the American Prize, and the Barlow Endowment and holds a PhD in Music Composition and Theory from Brandeis University.
Joseph Sowa grew up playing violin, listening to orchestral broadcasts on NPR, and geeking out on the film music of John Williams, James Horner and others. Surrounded by these sounds, Joseph wanted to make more of them.
His concert works have been played across Europe and the US, including performances by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Dal Niente, the PRISM Quartet, Hub New Music, Collage New Music, the Genesis Chamber Singers, the Lydian String Quartet, and many others.
He has been commissioned by performers including Hub New Music, the Awea Duo, the Tower Duo, the Genesis Chamber Singers, 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 piece Motion Lines was recorded by the PRISM Quartet on their album Surfaces and Essences.
Joseph’s sacred music, including originals and arrangements, has been performed in congregations across the United States and in London. 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.
Joseph received his PhD in music composition and theory from Brandeis University. As founder of the Wizarding School for Composers, he teaches live, online courses in music composition. As a scholar and clinician, he has recently presented at the Midwest Clinic and Teaching Composition: A Symposium on Composition Pedagogy. He has also been faculty on the Del Mar International Composers Symposium and the Music Creators Academy. He co-designed and co-taught the class “Star Wars: How Long Ago? How Far Away?” and dreams of writing a piece for tuba ensemble.