Joseph Michaels (b. 1977 in Oberlin, Ohio, USA) is a composer, performer, and curator. Based in Stuttgart, Germany since 2008, microtonality plays a central role in Michaels’ work. His creative output often incorporates other artistic disciplines and various forms of extra-musical communication, such as video, speech samples, and theatrics. Many of his works explore the nature of Western experimental art music, which is combined with other idioms and seemingly incongruent materials such as popular music or laugh tracks. A recent preoccupation has been the setting and transformation of borrowed materials, often as a means for political and social commentary.
Michaels' works have been performed in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia by such performers as Noise-Bridge, Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo, Hocket Piano Duo, ensemble cross.art, Nikola Lutz, Landman/Stadler Duo, Geoffrey Deibel, Céline Papion, Invading Pleasures, Stephen Mattingly, Thürmchen Ensemble, Neue Vocalsolisten, Rohan de Saram, and Ensemble SurPlus. As a guest composer, he has been invited to conservatories in Europe and the United States. His music has been broadcast on SRF 2 (Swiss Radio and Television 2), Deutschland Rundfunk (German Broadcasting), SWR2 (Southwest Broadcasting), WDR3 (West German Broadcasting), and Freies Radio Stuttgart, and performed at such notable venues as the MATA Festival, Acht Brücken, Curitiba Biennial, Gaudeamus, and ISCM Miami.
Michaels is also active in bringing works by other artists to the stage. He works on the board of the Stuttgarter Kollektiv für aktuelle Musik (Stuttgart Collective for Current Music), a promoter of experimental music in Southern Germany which he helped to found in January 2015.