Joshua Shank’s works have been widely performed by educational and professional ensembles alike. His music has been called “jubilant…ethereal” (Santa Barbara News-Press) and “evocative and atmospheric” (Gramophone). The Boston Classical Review called his Magnificat for the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo “powerful” and “emotionally charged.”
He has been commissioned by some of the most exciting choral ensembles in the United States as well as abroad and has collaborated with organizations such as Conspirare, the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the American Choral Directors Association, The Esoterics, the Minnesota All-State Choir, and the Lorelei Ensemble (Boston). From 2004 to 2014 he served as Composer-In-Residence for the Minneapolis-based professional choir, The Singers: Minnesota Choral Artists, and alongside Artistic Director Matthew Culloton and fellow composers-in-residence Abbie Betinis and Jocelyn Hagen, collaborated annually to expand and invigorate the repertoire for professional-caliber ensembles through innovative programming as well as new works written specifically for the ensemble.
Joshua received his undergraduate degree in Vocal Music Education from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where he studied conducting with Weston Noble and composition with John Morrison and Neil Flory. In 2002, he became the youngest composer ever awarded the Raymond W. Brock Composition Award by the American Choral Directors Association. The winning piece, Musica animam tangens, was premiered at the 2003 ACDA National Convention in Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center and has since been performed and recorded from Los Angeles to South Africa.
His music was recently featured in a documentary about the extensive choral tradition in the Upper Midwest, Never Stop Singing, and his best-selling choral work, The Boy Who Picked Up His Feet to Fly, was featured in the book Choral Charisma by Tom Carter. His published works for choir, band, and solo voice have sold over 100,000 copies worldwide and are available through Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Alliance, G. Schirmer, Graphite, Hal Leonard and Daehn Publications.
In recent years, Joshua has enjoyed writing program notes for various ensembles and composers around the US. In 2008 he received a grant from the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission to write for a choral celebration of the state’s 150th anniversary, and three years later he was engaged to write an essay for The Singers for their presentation of Jocelyn Hagen’s evening-length oratorio, amass. Most recently he collaborated with the Austin-based professional choir, Conspirare, to write extensive notes for their album of Samuel Barber’s choral music released on the Harmonia Mundi label.
A native of Minnesota, he currently lives in the Windsor Park neighborhood of Austin where he is pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Texas. There he has studied with Dan Welcher, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Russell Pinkston, Donald Grantham, and the late opera composer Daniel Catán. Joshua is an avid cyclist and enjoys vegetarian cooking and a good cup of tea.