THE WHOLE STORY
From the soaring cinematic sounds of his film music, to his melodic, thought-provoking songwriting, Joel Clarkson is an award-winning composer who paints his music with the colors of sound. He finds his inspiration in the beauty and transcendence of everyday life, from the mystery of nature, to the bustle and vibrancy of a busy city street. His Curiosity extends to a diverse swathe of the modern musical landscape, where he has ventured into sonic worlds as varied as pop, jazz, classical, and the film score.
Born in Vienna, Austria, Joel grew up a family overflowing with creative freedom, and space for expression. With parents who are both popular published writers, Joel was able to explore his gift for music in a home with limitless opportunity to learn and experiment. Frequently traveling with his parents when they spoke nationally and internationally, Joel became familiar and comfortable with the stage, often performing at events, both individually, and with his family. He has continued this close familiar collaboration through his band Two Benedictions, which he helms with his sister Joy Clarkson.
Though mostly self-taught in childhood because of constant travel and frequent family moves, Joel nonetheless developed an excellent ear for understanding harmony and melody, and eventually found himself in the prestigious halls of Berklee College of Music, where he received his degree in Composition, summa cum laude. After graduating, Joel quickly began to find footing in the film industry in Los Angeles, where he developed a close collaboration as an orchestrator with celebrated film composer, Joseph Julian Gonzalez.
His work with Gonzalez took his craft to a new level, eventually helping to write new orchestrations for Gonzalez’s orchestral oratorio masterpiece, Misa Azteca, which has been previously performed in music halls all over the world, including at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, and the Sorbonne, and was premiered with Joel’s new orchestrations at the Church of San’Ignazio, in Rome, in the fall of 2014.
Joel has continued to work at a high level in both composition and orchestration, with credits including projects with PBS, Cinedigm, and Catholic TV. He has also worn a multitude of other hats in the industry, including that of conductor, songwriter, producer, music supervisor, and—perhaps most surprising of all—audiobook artist. Excited to try new genres and fields, his curiosity and craftsmanship has garnered him a number of awards, including multiple nominations for best score for the recent film “After School”, co-composed with Isaac Owen Richardson, as well as a finalist in Audible’s “Best of 2015” audiobooks in the children’s category.
Joel is also highly sought after as a performer, both in collaboration with his sister Joy in their band Two Benedictions, and as a solo pianist. He has released six full-length albums of instrumental piano music as a solo artist, including both original works and arrangements of existing pieces, which he has performed throughout the United States.
Joel lives in the foothills of the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Colorado.