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Joseph Church

Associate Adjunct Professor

Music and Performing Arts Professions

Dr. Joseph Church is a composer, arranger, conductor, pianist, author, and professor of music.  His career has been eclectic and exciting, collaborating with some of music and the theatre's most remarkable artists, and guiding some of the entertainment world’s most promising talent. Joseph received his doctorate in composition in 1996 from NYU, and since then has served there in many capacities, teaching composition, theory, conducting, and musical theater performance; as co-director of the musical theatre program; and as guest conductor of the NYU Symphony Orchestra.  He holds a B.A in Music from Swarthmore College and a M.M. from the University of Illinois in Choral Conducting.  As a professional music director, Joseph is well-known for his music direction and arrangements for two groundbreaking Broadway musicals, The Lion King and The Who’s Tommy, on Broadway and worldwide.  Other Broadway and Off-Broadway credits as music director or conductor include In The Heights, Little Shop of Horrors, Amazing Grace, Sister Act, Randy Newman's Faust and Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular.  Orchestrations include Steven Lutvak’s Almost September, the catalogue musicals The 60s Project and A Sign of the Times, and re-orchestrations of The Rothschilds (music by Jerry Bock) and Rex (music by Richard Rodgers). Dr. Church was the conductor and music director for the Grammy-winning cast albums of The Lion King and Tommy.

Dr. Church is a prolific composer and songwriter, in many musical genres. His concert works include the oratorio “The Tortoise and the Two Ducks,” the third of three Jean de LaFontaine fables set to music in collaboration with legendary librettist Sheldon Harnick, which was premiered by the NYU Symphony and won third prize in the American Prize for Composition.  Other works include Three Romances for mixed chorus, Sonata for Two Pianos (winner of the 1993 NYU Student Composition Award), Vibrachrome (Honeyrock Publishing) for solo vibraphone, Mock Opera, an avant-garde instrumental operetta, and the Reel and Rondo from “As You Like It,” premiered on New Year’s Eve 2000 by the Long Island Philharmonic. Joseph has been composer-in-residence at New York's Riverside Shakespeare Company and Manhattan Repertory Theatre, and in all has written incidental music for over thirty plays, including Richard III, As You Like It, The Tempest, Antigone, Anna Christie, and The Rainmaker.  He has written five musicals and dozens of songs ranging in style from pop tunes to legitimate musicals.

He is the author two books for Oxford University Press: Music Direction for the Stage: A View from the Podium (2015) and Rock in the Musical theatre: A Guide for Singers (2019).,

Dr. Church teaches composition and songwriting in our department.



NYU Steinhardt Songwriting will help you become the best songwriter you can be, in the genres, styles, and approaches you define.

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