Named as one of National Public Radio’s listeners’ favorite composers under the age of 40, Joel Puckett is a composer who is dedicated to the belief that music can bring consolation, hope and joy to all who need it.
The Washington Post has hailed him as both “visionary” and “gifted” and the Baltimore Sun proclaimed his work for the Washington Chorus and Orchestra, This Mourning, as “being of comparable expressive weight” to John Adams’ Pulitzer Prize winning work.
Puckett’s flute concerto, The Shadow of Sirius, has been performed all over the world and commercially recorded multiple times. Of the recent recording released on the Equilibrium label, Audiophile Audition wrote, “The music … contains a density within a clarity, polyphony within the simple and – most importantly – is a beautiful and seemingly spiritual work.” A total of three commercial recordings of The Shadow of Sirius are available with the release of Marianne Gedigian’s performance on Naxos’s Blue-Ray Surround Sound Series.
In May of 2012, Puckett’s double concerto for clarinet, flute and orchestra, Concerto Duo, was premiered by brothers Anthony McGill [principal clarinet, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra] and Demarre McGill [principal flute, The Seattle Symphony] to a sold out crowd at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall.
The Washington Chorus, recipient of the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, commissioned and premiered Joel’s work This Mourning, for chorus, orchestra, 40 wine glasses and tenor soloist, to rave reviews at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Of the third movement Baltimore Sun critic Tim Smith wrote, “The final movement reaches profound heights. As the chorus intones Dickinson’s lines, ‘There must be guests in Eden, All the rooms are full,’ a cathartic, almost ecstatic rise of melody and emotion unfolds.”
The 2013-14 season features an exciting line up of premieres, including Short Stories, a concerto for string quartet commissioned jointly by The University of Texas, University of Michigan, Colorado University, Northwestern and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; chamber works for pianist Nick Philips and the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble; a large work for flute ensemble and soloist commissioned for Marina Piccinini, the very first Reed Quintet Consortium commission featuring such legendary groups as Calefax and a new work for Philadelphia’s remarkable choir, The Crossing.
Puckett is currently on the full-time faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University where he teaches courses in music theory, co-teaches the composition seminar and recently finished a term as the composer-in-residence for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. He holds advanced degrees from the University of Michigan where he studied with Pulitzer-Prize winner William Bolcom, MacArthur Foundation Fellow Bright Sheng, and Grammy Award winner Michael Daugherty.