"Music of style and substance."

                                                         - David Katz for The American Prize

"Really well written...truly beautiful and evocative."

                                                         - Fabio Menchetti, pianist

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Guest Appearance on the Everyday Musician Podcast with Eric Mrugala


    Joseph Foster Harkins (b. 1995, Harrisburg, PA) is a composer of evocative and highly expressive contemporary concert music for audiences that “will be truly impressed” (Press & Journal). Mr. Harkins’ invigorating music has been commissioned, performed, and disseminated by prominent musicians, ensembles, and collegiate institutions throughout North America, including the United States and Mexico, with an upcoming international debut in Nairobi, Kenya in March 2020 with the premiere of his Internal Centrifuge with oboist Brian Lyons. He will also make his record label debut on Centaur Records through the compilation disc Polychrome.

    Mr. Harkins’ output includes an expansive body of instrumental chamber music as well as works for solo piano, large ensembles, and vocal music. In February 2020 his Space and Proportion will be premiered by Boston duo Transient Canvas at the RED NOTE New Music Festival at Illinois State University, where he will also be a participant in the Composition Workshop working with guest composers David Rakowski and Stacy Garrop. 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 also 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. Upcoming projects include a collaboration with Baltimore Symphony principal oboist Katherine Needleman, Filtered Sunlight, for her new music series at Baltimore’s An Die Musik and a new piece featuring 8 trumpets for the Flexible Orchestra of New York City with conductor Tara Simoncic in the 2020-2021 season. Other exciting projects for 2020 include a new work for Eric Mrugala and Eunjin Lee as the Chicago Chamber Music Project, a new work for Oasi Trio’s Fall concert tour, and new large-scale pieces for the Michigan-based Hypotenuse Trio, Baltimore’s SMacK Trio, and percussionist 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 composers with roots across the United States. QC3 made their debut collaborating with the chamber group Unheard-Of//Ensemble in February of 2019, which included Mr. Harkins’ work Golden Fields of Air’s Perspective. QC3 will be in residency at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in March 2020, where they will collaborate with the UNCG Clarinet Studio on performances of their music and give talks and presentations with the composition department. Additionally, QC3 is collaborating with pianist Michael Delfin on a new evening-length work for piano, with a recording and performance tour in preparation for the Fall of 2020.

    Mr. Harkins received his master’s degree in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory 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, Jacob Cooper, Mark Rimple, Andrew Conklin, and Van Stiefel, and has participated in masterclasses with composers Dan Visconti, 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 pursuing doctoral work at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins, where he recently served as a teaching assistant to Dean Fred Bronstein and grading assistant for Graduate Theory Review. He currently studies composition with Oscar Bettison.


    Joseph Foster Harkins (b.1995, Harrisburg, PA) is a composer of evocative and highly expressive contemporary concert music for audiences that “will be truly impressed” (Press & Journal). He has enjoyed collaborations with Fifth House Ensemble, F-Plus, and Unheard-of//Ensemble among others, with upcoming performances by Transient Canvas at the RED NOTE New Music Festival, Tara Simoncic and the Flexible Orchestra in NYC, and the UNCG Clarinet Studio in a residency with the Queen City Composer Collective. Mr. Harkins is a current DMA student in composition at the Peabody Institute, studying with Oscar Bettison.

Joseph Foster Harkins