Joe Cutler was born in London in 1968 and studied music at the Universities of Huddersfield and Durham before spending three years at the Chopin Academy, Warsaw as the recipient of a Polish Government Scholarship. Since 2000 he has been teaching at Bimingham Conservatoire where he is currently Head of Composition.
His music has been performed or broadcast in over thirty countries worldwide at venues such as Queen Elizabeth Hall, Barbican Centre, Wigmore Hall ( London), Opera City (Tokyo), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Symphony Space (New York) and at festivals such as Huddersfield, Musica Strasbourg, Gaudeamus International Music Week, Basle Musik Monat, Dresden New Music Days and Warsaw Autumn.
Performers have included the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, City of London Sinfonia, Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Icebreaker, Orkest de Volharding, Ensemble de Ereprijs, Ensemble Expose, The Schubert Ensemble, IXION, Lontano, New Music Players, Okeanos, Psappha, Uroboros Ensemble, Fidelio Trio, Riga Saxophone Quartet, Delta Saxophone Quartet, PRISM and Quasar Saxophone Quartets, Bradyworks, [rout], Sarah Leonard, Alain Trudel, Tomoko Mukaiyama, Frederic Rzewski, Darragh Morgan, Mary Dullea, Rolf Hind, Stephen Gutman, Isabel Ettenauer, Sarah Nicolls and Noszferatu (a collective he co-founded in 2000).
Prizes and awards have included a Special Mention at the 1997 Gaudeamus International Music Week, 2nd Prize in the 2000 Toru Takemitsu Award and winner of the 2005 SCO/SwCO International Composers Competition.
He has also collaborated extensively with practitioners from the worlds of theatre, dance, film and visual art, including writing the incidental music for the National Theatre's production of Charlotte Jones' recent play Humble Boy which transferred to London's West End and New York's Off Broadway.
Recent pieces include the BBC commisison Jack the Diamond's Jamming Station (in collaboration with video artist Jaap Drupsteen) for the combined forces of Icebreaker and Orkest de Volharding, Sikorski which was commissioned by the 2005 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and premiered by Noszferatu, Cinnamon Street which was commissioned by the Scottish and Swedish Chamber Orchestras and premiered in Glasgow and Edinburgh in March 2006 and conducted by Joseph Swenson, Ulf which was commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and premiered at the Barbican Centre in May 2006 conducted by Paul Watkins, and Gonzalez commissioned by Orchestra of the Swan, and premiered in Stratford-on-Avon in April 2007.
Forthcoming projects include new works for the Goldberg Ensemble and the Smith Quartet and a portrait CD of his work is due for release in Spring 2008 on NMC.
'I don't really know what I'm doing or why exactly, except that I enjoy the process of taking a seed of an idea and seeing where it leads. It sometimes feels rather like making a gigantic mess and then making some sense out of it. Ideas come from everywhere, from other music, found materials, literature, art, life. I suppose I attempt to write music that excites or affects me in some way.'
On Ulf... 'Cutler likes exploring extreme contrasts; this example tickled and intrigued in a confident performance, and kept Paul Watkins very busy conducting.'
Geoff Brown, The Times, May 2006
On Cinnamon Street... 'It's a tribute to Cutler's considerable talents that the piece was never in danger of being eclipsed, despite being in such illustrious company.'
The Scotsman, March 2006
'Joe Cutler's Without Fear of Vertigo has a visceral energy and a genuine sense of daring.'
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, April 2002