Joseph Michaels (b. 1977 in Oberlin, Ohio, USA) is a composer, performer, multimedia artist, and curator. Based in Stuttgart, Germany since 2008, experimentation has continuously played a role in his creative output, which has branched out over time to include other artistic disciplines and various forms of extra-musical communication, such as video, speech samples, and theatrics while his harmonic language has evolved from atonality to microtonality. A recurring theme in his recent work has been the combination of seemingly incongruent elements in order to better understand what distinguishes them, as a commentary on the elements themselves, or as a reflection of societal trends.
Michaels' works have been performed in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, and Africa 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 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 music 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. He has also collaborated closely on several projects with ensemble cross.art since 2010.
In April 2017, he, together with Jennie Gottschalk, launched the project workinginmusic.info, which examines how artists balance life and work and what tools are necessary to sustain a career in music.