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Joy Son

Composer/Arranger/Teaching Artist

Joy’s first composition came about after a carousel ride at an amusement park. The piece was a simple waltz for a solo piano reflecting the playful moment experienced by the nine-year-old. But it was the Vienna Philharmonic’s live performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 Pathétique that changed her life at age of 11. Joy immediately began her formal training and then continued on to study classical music composition at Sunhwa Arts Schools and Ewha Womans University (B.M. in Composition). At the University, Joy broadened her musical scope and became attracted to opera and musical theater. In 2001, she relocated from Seoul to New York City to attend NYU Steinhardt for her M.A. in Composition and BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, a Tony-honored theatre writing program. In 2005, she earned her M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing at NYU Tisch on scholarship.

Joy uses motifs as a tool for story-telling; Rather than fitting them into a definitive box, she skillfully varies her themes in various textures, seamlessly weaves them, and fluidly takes listeners on an emotional journey. She often writes programmic pieces and applies progressive tonality along with other traditional techniques in order to support the dramatic arch on her unique musical palette. With a strength in melody-writing combined with colorful harmonic language, her music naturally sings whether it's vocal or instrumental, and tells stories with or without texts.

Her music has been inspired by different composers from different eras and genres. Joy grew up watching classic musical films and listening to her Korean parents singing American Oldies. Her influencers include Shin Dong Soo, J.S.Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Rodgers, Lowe, Bernstein, Sondheim, Yeston, Hamlisch, Menken, Mancini, Morricone, Sakamoto, Hisaishi, Legrand, Gagnon, Rutter, Jenkins, Joel, and some of the best 80's & 90's K-Pop ballad. Deeply rooted in classical music with the versatility of crossing over various styles, her writing voice is lyrical and delicate, yet distinctive in whichever genre she tackles. 

In addition to her prolific writing career, Joy has diverse proficiencies in arranging, orchestration, conducting, music directing and music education. She passionately teaches theory, composition, songwriting, piano, keyboard harmony, solfège (ear-training), and improvisation at her private studio in Manhattan, providing ever-lasting support and nurturing lifelong love of music in children and youth. Joy is piano faculty at Geneva Conservatory of Music, and is currently a Dalcroze teacher trainee, specialized in early childhood and elementary, at The Dalcroze School at Lucy Moses School (under Michael Joviala, Leslie Upchurch, Cynthia Lilley).

Awards: Winner of 2021 Raise Your Voice Competition; 2018 & 2019 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist; 2017 York Theatre NEO Fellow; 2015 Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award semi-finalist; Winner of 2014 IMEA Awards (Best Original Score); Winner of 2014 American Harmony Prize; Winner of 2013 Arts Council Korea National Grant; Winner of 2006 Shelley Pinz Prize; Winner of 2007 Jerry Harrington Musical Theatre Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre (BMI Foundation); 2023 Dalcroze Society of America DSA Memorial Scholarship

Affiliation: Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)

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