Molly Joyce


Molly Joyce


Composer and performer Molly Joyce has been deemed one of the “most versatile, prolific and intriguing composers working under the vast new-music dome” by The Washington Post. Her music has additionally been described as “serene power” (New York Times), and “unwavering…enveloping” (Vulture). Her work is concerned with disability as a creative source. She has an impaired left hand from a previous car accident, and seeks to explore disability through composition, performance, collaboration, community engagement, and further mediums. Her most recent album, Perspective, featuring forty-seven disabled interviewees responding to what access, care, interdependence, and more mean to them, was released on October 2022 on New Amsterdam Records. The record has been praised by Pitchfork as “a powerful work of love and empathy that underscores the poison of ableism in American culture” and The Wire as a “powerful ongoing project…charged by an intense composer/performer relationship.”

The primary vehicle in her pursuit is her electric vintage toy organ, an instrument she bought on eBay that suits her body and engages her disability on a compositional and performative level. Her debut full-length album, Breaking and Entering, featuring toy organ, voice, and electronic sampling of both sources was released in June 2020 on New Amsterdam Records, and has been praised by New Sounds as “a powerful response to something (namely, physical disability of any kind) that is still too often stigmatized, but that Joyce has used as a creative prompt.”

Molly’s creative projects have been presented and commissioned by Carnegie Hall, TEDxMidAtlantic, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Bang on a Can Marathon, Danspace Project, deSingel, Americans for the Arts, National Sawdust, Music Academy of the West, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, National Gallery of Art, Classical:NEXT, and featured in outlets such as Pitchfork, eBay, Red Bull Radio, WNYC’s New Sounds, and I Care If You Listen. Her compositional works have been commissioned and performed by ensembles including the Vermont, New World, New York Youth, Pittsburgh, Albany, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, as well as the New Juilliard, Decoda, Contemporaneous ensembles, and Harvard Glee Club. She has also written for publications 21CM, Disability Arts Online, Women in Foreign Policy, and is a member of the Americans for the Arts’ Artists Committee.

Her debut EP, Lean Back and Release, was released in January 2017 on New Amsterdam Records to much acclaim. Featuring violinists Monica Germino and Adrianna Mateo, the EP was praised as “energetic, heady and blisteringly emotive” by Paste Magazine and “arresting” by Textura. Additionally, Molly’s music has been released on thirteen commercial albums, including from pianist Vicky Chow, cellist Nick Photinos, and vocalist Bec Plexus (all on New Amsterdam Records), Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble (on Innova Recordings), NakedEye Ensemble (on New Focus Recordings), cellist Alistair Sung (on 7 Mountain Records), percussionist Ralph Sorrentino (on Ravello Records), and on releases from VONK Ensemble, Party of One, clarinetist Lucy Abrams-Husso, saxophonist Don-Paul Kahl, percussionist Evan Chapman, pianist Brianna Matzke and violinist Hajnal Pivnick’s duo album On Behalf.

As a collaborator, Molly has worked across disciplines including with media artist Andy Slater, visual artists Lex Brown, Leo Castaneda, Alteronce Gumby, Maya Smira, Julianne Swartz, choreographers Melissa Barak, Kelsey Connolly, Carlye Eckert, Jerron Herman, director Austin Regan, and writers Marco Grosse, James Kennedy, Christopher Oscar Peña, and Jacqueline Suskin. She has also assisted Shara Nova of My Brightest Diamond, including orchestral arrangements for American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Glenn Kotche of Wilco.

Molly is a recipient of ASCAP’s Leo Kaplan Award, as part of the Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, grants from New Music USA, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Jerome Fund / American Composers Forum, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, and residencies at AIR Krems an Der Donau, ArtCenter/ South Florida, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, De Link Tilburg, Embassy of Foreign Artists, Grace Farms, Halcyon Arts Lab, Headlands Center for the Arts, Villa Sträuli, Titanik, Surel’s Place, Swatch Art Peace Hotel, The Watermill Center, and Willapa Bay AiR.

Molly is a graduate of The Juilliard School (graduating with scholastic distinction), Royal Conservatory in The Hague (recipient of the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund Grant), and Yale School of Music. She holds an Advanced Certificate and Master of Arts in Disability Studies from CUNY School of Professional Studies, has done doctoral studies in artistic research as part of the Dr. Artium program between Graz and Zurich Universities of the Arts, and is an alumnus of the National YoungArts Foundation. She has studied with Samuel Adler, Martin Bresnick, Guus Janssen, David Lang, Missy Mazzoli, Martijn Padding, Christopher Theofanidis, and has served on the composition faculty of New York University, Wagner College, and Berklee Online, teaching subjects including Disability and the Arts, Music Technology, Music Theory, and Orchestration. She is currently a Dean’s Doctoral Fellow at the University of Virginia, focusing on Composition and Computer Technologies.

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