Interview conducted October 2016
Biography | Joel Puckett
(derived from Joel Puckett's website)
Named as one of National Public Radio’s listeners' favorite composers under the age of 40, Joel Puckett is one of the most performed composers in America. Hailed by the Washington Post as "visionary," Mr. Puckett believes in the life-changing power of music to heal and provide comfort to those who need it. Minnesota Opera recently announced it has commissioned Puckett for, "The Black Sox Scandal," a full-length opera with a libretto by Academy Award Winner, Eric Simonson about the rise and fall of the 1919 Chicago White Sox. "The Black Sox Scandal" is a tragic tale of mythic proportions, ripe with greed, power, romance, and redemption, all set against the backdrop of America’s favorite pastime and will premiere in the 2018-19 season. Puckett’s music, which has been consistently awarded and recognized, was recently selected by Chorus America and the American Composers Forum as the recipient of the Dale Warland Singers Commission for a partnership with Philadelphia’s premier chamber choir, The Crossing. His flute concerto, The Shadow of Sirius, premiered in 2010, has seen more than 150 performances all over the world and commercially recorded multiple times. Of this work, Audiophile Audition wrote, “The music ... contains a density within a clarity, polyphony within the simple and—most importantly—is a beautiful and seemingly spiritual work.” On Mother's Day 2012, Puckett's double concerto for clarinet, flute and orchestra, Concerto Duo, was premiered by brothers Anthony McGill [principal clarinet, The New York Philharmonic] and Demarre McGill [principal flute, The Dallas Symphony Orchestra] at Chicago's Orchestra Hall by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, where Puckett served as Composer in Residence from 2010-2012. The Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein saw the piece as a perfect piece for the occasion where, “the flutist and clarinetist opportunities to soar in intertwining dialogues, jazzy and lyrical. With its shimmering waves of post-minimalism, "Concerto Duo" went down very easily.” The Washington Chorus, recipient of the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, commissioned and premiered Joel's work This Mourning, for chorus, orchestra, 40 wine glasses and tenor soloist, to rave reviews at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Of the third movement Baltimore Sun critic Tim Smith wrote, "The final movement reaches profound heights. As the chorus intones Dickinson's lines, 'There must be guests in Eden, All the rooms are full,' a cathartic, almost ecstatic rise of melody and emotion unfolds." The 2014-15 season will bring several other exciting premieres including commissions from Northwestern University for a symphony to be premiered as part of its new Lakefront Bienen School of Music Building dedication, chamber works for the Fischof National Chamber Music Competition gold metal winning reed-quintet, Akropolis, flutist Marina Piccinini, a large work for Philadelphia’s premier chamber choir, The Crossing led by Donald Nally and a trumpet concerto for virtuoso, Craig Morris. Joel has received numerous awards from organizations such as the American Composers Forum, BMI, Chorus America and the American Bandmasters Association. Currently on the classroom faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, he holds advanced degrees from the University of Michigan. His music is represented worldwide by Bill Holab music.
Interviewer's Biography | Madeleine Richter-Atkinson
Madeleine Richter-Atkinson is a freshman at the University of Texas majoring in the Plan II Honors Program and anticipating to declare a double major in French. She spent most of her childhood overseas in Ukraine, India, South Korea, and Indonesia. Music has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember, and she found her affinity for writing in middle school, when she wrote Percy Jackson fanfiction. Madeleine's love for music and writing inspired her to join Apricity Magazine, of which she is currently the Managing Editor. Growing up overseas, her childhood was marked by the universal language of music, which inspired her to join the magazine. She plays flute in the university's Symphony Band, where she met Joel Puckett.