Joseph Foster Harkins (b. 1995, Harrisburg, PA) is a composer of stylistically diverse contemporary concert music for audiences that “will be truly impressed” (Press & Journal). He crafts evocative and highly expressive works that feature unique conceptions, textural and contrapuntal vitality, inventive formal ingenuity, and prominent lyricism. Mr. Harkins’ music has been commissioned, performed, and disseminated by prominent musicians, ensembles, and collegiate institutions throughout North America, including the United States and Mexico, and will make his record label debut in 2019 on Centaur Records through the compilation disc Polychrome.
Mr. Harkins’ prolific output includes an expansive body of instrumental chamber music as well as works for solo piano, large ensembles, and vocal music. He was elected a Finalist for the 2019 American Prize in instrumental chamber music for the Piano Sonatina No. 2 and collaborated with Fifth House Ensemble and other participants at the 2019 Fresh Inc Festival with performances of his music, including the premiere of the reed quintet Chesapeake Clementine. He collaborated with Atlanta-based chamber duo Pie for Two during their 2019 Midwest Tour to premiere Breathing Octane for bass clarinet and drum set which incorporates theatrical elements and tap dancing, supported by a grant from CCMPower, with new works for the CCM Trombone Choir and violist Michael Hall also premiering in 2019. He collaborated with the critically-acclaimed trio F-Plus in November of 2018 on a new set of miniatures based on Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, Suspended Sandstones, and made his Mexican debut in June of 2018 with Bach artist Armida Rivera, who premiered his solo trumpet piece Harmon-ie at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Upcoming projects include new works for the Chicago Chamber Music Project, oboist Brian Lyons and his educational outreach projects in Nairobi and the Philippines, the recording of his solo trumpet work Taking Command with Armida Rivera on her new recording initiative, and a piece featuring 8 trumpets for the Flexible Orchestra of New York City with conductor Tara Simoncic in the 2020-2021 season. Additionally, he will be collaborating on two new consortium opportunities for large-scale solo works, including consortiums for solo piano alongside Maria
Wietrzynska and solo percussion alongside Micheal Barnes.
In addition to his own projects and commissions, Mr. Harkins is also a member of the Cincinnati-based composer collective QC3, or Queen City Composer Collective, established in 2018 and comprised of eight ultradiverse composers from across the United States. QC3 made their debut collaborating with the NYC-based Unheard-Of//Ensemble in February of 2019, which included Mr. Harkins’ work Golden Fields of Air’s Perspective, and is actively pursuing new collaborations and projects, including a new evening-length work for pianist Michael Delfin and concerts at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and the Peabody Institute. Mr. Harkins received his master’s degree in composition from the University of Cincinnati CollegeConservatory of Music where he taught Music History as a graduate assistant and completed undergraduate degrees in composition and oboe performance at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He has studied with internationally recognized composers Michael Fiday, Ellen Ruth Harrison, Robert Maggio, Adam Silverman, and Jacob Cooper to name a few, and has participated in masterclasses with composers Miguel de Aguila and Derek Bermel. Mr. Harkins was inducted into the Delta Sigma chapter of the American music honor society Pi Kappa Lambda in the spring of 2017.
Mr. Harkins is currently pursuing doctoral work in composition at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins where he studies with Oscar Bettison.
Chesapeake Clementine — Joseph Harkins
for oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, bass clarinet