Composer and organist Joseph Kern hails from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania in the heart of the Susquehanna Valley. His major musical influences have been the works of Mahler, Beethoven, Bach, and Ives and Kern’s music seeks to be as honest as possible while drawing from these influences. It often combines layers, simple motives, bitonality, and large scale forms within the realm of his own voice and it has taken a step away from the over programmatic to the more absolute.
His music has seen performances throughout the United States and Italy; which included a performance of his De profundis during high mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Iron City, a work for string quartet written as an ode to the city of Pittsburgh, has received numerous performances across the United States by the celebrated Carpe Diem String Quartet. His choral music has seen premiers by Grammy Award winning conductors: De profundis premiered by Robert Shafer and the Shenandoah Conservatory Choir and Crucifixus premiered by Jerry Blackstone and the University of Michigan Chamber Choir.
Before receiving his DMA from the University of Missouri - Kansas City, Joseph received his Bachelor of Music in Composition from Shenandoah University and his Master of Music from the University of Michigan. His teachers have included William Averitt, Michael Daugherty, Kristin Kuster, James Mobberley, Chen Yi, and Zhou Long and has studied organ with Steven Cooksey and Elisa Bickers. He is currently the organist for Colonial Church (UCC) in Prairie Village, Kansas, adjunct faculty at Johnson County Community College, and was the Composer-in-Residence with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons.