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Joe Snape

Joe Snape

Joe Snape (1989) mixes conventional and homemade electronic instruments with light, text and video to make unusual and emotive performances.

His work has been presented at places like The Kitchen (New York), Café Oto (London), and Wonder Site (Tokyo), and also at places like the Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg) and Aldeburgh Music.

The Quietus calls Joe’s music ‘goofy, melancholy, irreverent fun – very, very singularly itself.’ Fluid Radio thinks it’s ‘joyous and beautiful’, and one time in The Guardian, Nico Muhly called it ‘organized, disorganized fun’. In front of a small audience, the AACM’s George Lewis described Joe’s work as ‘some seriously unartful sh*t,’ and thankfully everybody agreed.

Joe is a former UK Young Artist, has been nominated for the Arts Foundation’s Creative Producer fellowship, and has helped commission new work from almost twenty young composers on both sides of the Atlantic. Truthfully, though, his own art has never actually won a prize.

Joe grew up playing classical percussion in the city-wide Birmingham Music Service of the Noughties, recording songs on the family computer, and flogging hand-painted CD-Rs to other kids at school. He studied music at Cambridge, Oxford, and the Institute of Sonology in The Hague, spent time at University of California Berkeley, and held a PhD fellowship at New York University from 2015 to 2020. Since 2010, he’s been playing really weird rock and roll with small bands and giant orchestras alike. He currently lives in the North East of England.

“There are two things that I’m particularly looking forward to as Artist in Residence at Sage Gateshead this year. The first is making a funny, heartbreaking evening-length piece with a new ensemble about music, memory, and the way those things come into play in the stories we tell about ourselves. The second is learning more about the North East’s rich tradition of music-making and community building, and figuring out how my work as a composer, but also as an aspiring teacher and a citizen, might usefully contribute to that tradition.”