Chair of Composition Studies
Professor of Composition
Born in Los Angeles in 1962, Joseph Klein is a composer of solo, chamber, and large ensemble works, including instrumental, vocal, electroacoustic, and intermedia compositions. His music reflects an ongoing interest in processes drawn from such sources as fractal geometry, chaos, and systems theory, often inspired by natural phenomena. His works frequently incorporate theatrical elements, whether as a component of the extra-musical references or as an organic outgrowth of the musical narrative itself. Literature is another important influence on Klein’s work, with recent compositions based on the writings of Franz Kafka, Elias Canetti, Alice Fulton, W.S. Merwin, Milan Kundera, and John Ashbery, among others. Klein’s compositions have been performed and broadcast internationally, and he has been a featured guest composer at academic institutions, performance venues, conferences, and music festivals throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His works have been recognized by such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Composers Forum/Jerome Foundation, the American Music Center, the Gaudeamus Foundation of Amsterdam, and ASCAP. His recorded works are available on the Innova, Centaur, Crystal, and Mark labels.
Klein holds degrees in composition from Indiana University (DM, 1991), University of California, San Diego (MA, 1986), and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (BA, 1984). His composition teachers have included Harvey Sollberger, Claude Baker, Robert Erickson, and Roger Reynolds. He is currently Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of North Texas College of Music, where he has served as Chair of Composition Studies since 1999.