Joseph Davies is a Cardiff-born composer and collaborative artist based in London. Hailed as “one of the brightest of rising stars” (Bernard Clarke, RTÉ), his music is often characterised by extremes of frenetic activity and serene contemplation which seek to reflect and transcend the wild contradictions of 21st century life. A love of obsessive rhythmic patterning akin to American minimalism and electronic dance music is wedded to an extroverted flair for instrumental colour, resulting in "extraordinarily vivid and exuberant" music of "overwhelming power" where boundaries between the spiritual and the carnal dissolve.
His works, performed and broadcast throughout Europe and the USA, range from virtuosic chamber-size pieces for some of the most gifted musicians of his generation to large-scale pieces for ensembles including several for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, most recently his violin concerto Parallax (2021) premiered by Daniel Pioro in 2022. Other commissions include Intricate Images (2014) for harpist Catrin Finch and cellist Steffan Morris, the orchestral song cycle The Shortest Day (2016) setting specially written texts by former Archbishop of Canterbury and poet Rowan Williams to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, and Hymn to Hermes (2018) for The Hermes Experiment.
As an arranger, conductor and recording artist he has a knack for bringing out the best in his collaborators, with projects including Meilyr Jones’s prize-winning album 2013 (2016, Moshi Moshi) and Baxter Dury’s Prince of Tears (2017, Heavenly Recordings), both regarded as those artists’ finest work to date. In 2017 Joseph’s wind orchestra piece Anemoi was nominated for a BASCA British Composer Award and he was awarded the Sir Geraint Evans Prize by the Welsh Music Guild. Other projects include work for CHROMA Ensemble, EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble and the Esbjerg Ensemble, with performances at the Royal Festival Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Musikhuset Aarhus, National Concert Hall (Dublin) and elsewhere.
Joseph has been a lecturer in composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama since 2013 where he has taught over a hundred composers to date. From 2019-23 he was the lead composer for Tŷ Cerdd’s CoDI Text scheme, mentoring six composers alongside Irish writer Kaite O’Reilly. His work is published by Birdsong Music, with some works published by Chester Music.
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