Joel Baldwin (b. 1985) is a composer based in South Wales. Over recent years, he has been commissioned to write a number of interdisciplinary stage works: an opera based on a John McGahern short story, The Beginning of an Idea, for the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Music; a ‘vocalic opera’ for four voices, ensemble, and electronics for Konscht Maschinn; a multilingual monodrama with film and dancers for DANSOX; and a setting of poems on fungi for soprano and ensemble.

Joel has written pieces for the likes of Ensemble Klang, Villiers Quartet, CHROMA, Explore Ensemble, ANIMA, RCM Orchestra, Composers’ Ensemble, Masters’ Ensemble, and has worked with many international soloists such as pianists Viv McLean and Maki Sekiya, and singers including Laura Bohn, Julia Mintzer, and Michaela Riener. In 2023, Joel composed an opera, Fish, to celebrate the centenary of Bristol Opera, constructing a libretto about the life of Bristol-born artist, Anne Harriet Fish. He is currently working on two other large-scale pieces for performances in 2024/25.

Joel read Music as an undergraduate at the University of Southampton before studying for an MMus in Composition at The Royal College of Music with Jonathan Cole. He went on to complete a DPhil in Music at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Professors Martyn Harry and Gascia Ouzounian. His doctoral thesis explored melancholia, noise, and intertextuality in Louis Andriessen’s film opera, La Commedia (2008), and was accompanied by a portfolio of original compositions exploring similarly dramatic, Dantean themes. These threads continue to pervade his work, as do memories of jazz drumming, percussion, and Latin American musical forms from his time as a youngster in Guatemala.

Joel is Lecturer in Music at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, and Musicianship Tutor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He has been involved in the management and programming for multiple performance venues in England and Wales, and currently serves on the board of Ludlow Piano Festival alongside Alistair McGowan as Co-Artistic Director. You can hear Joel’s podcast for the festival here.

If you’d like to find out more—or to collaborate—please get in touch.