Composer, pianist, and author René Joseph’s music has been recorded in North America and in Europe, performed on National Public Radio, and can be heard in a wide range of performance venues from the classical concert stage to folk, band, and electronic settings (My Beautiful Country, Processional, ‘Voyager’ Concerto…).

"Joseph is a talented musical chameleon who can create just about any style… He favors an easily identifiable melody, which he works over in refreshing ways… It was obvious to the appreciative audience that he is a creative force who can do many things very well."

René grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of an American embassy official. He began piano lessons at age seven, first with an Armenian teacher and then with Russian pianist Mikhail Cheskinov. He began composing at age fourteen and initially studied counterpoint on his own, working through the Baroque counterpoint manual Gradus ad Parnassum (also used by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and other celebrated composers).

After the family returned to the U.S., René studied music at the University of Oregon under Homer Keller (composition), Hal Owen (theory, counterpoint), and Rumanian pianist Alexandru Hrisanides (piano), receiving baccalaureate degrees in Music and German. Subsequently, he studied with the late Polish pianist Adam Kapuscinski (student of A. Michalowski, himself a pupil of Liszt).

"Dear Mr. Joseph, I have given your works to my students at the Conservatoire. Your compositions have met with great success."

After graduation René became involved with electronic music and coordinated the Eugene Electronic Music Collective (EEMC), giving concerts on synthesizers and piano in his native state of Oregon. His ‘Voyager’ Concerto for piano and synthesizers is the first and only concerto ever written for that combination of keyboard instruments. One listener commented:

“I was transported by the magnitude and beauty of the ‘Voyager’ Concerto. You have truly married the head and the heart, your Beethoven and your Chopin. Congratulations. I feel that your music will attract a large audience. It is definitely understandable and a sensual delight to experience. The blend of synthesizer and piano is pure genius."

Rene’s cover article “Electronic Orchestration” appeared in Electronic Musician magazine. The article continues to be used in college music courses as a benchmark reference in the field.

As noted in Keyboard Magazine, René toured the Northwest performing the world premiere of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations on synthesizers and in quadraphonic sound. He has also concertized performing original works on piano and synthesizers and founded the Alliance Recognizing Talent in Eugene (A.R.T.E.), a consortium of 40+ musicians/artists in his hometown.

Besides his roles as composer and performer of music, René has also worked as a Mental Health Associate, caring for severely mentally ill patients in various hospital settings. He strongly believes this work has added depth and character to his compositions and to his performing.

"Dear Mr. Joseph, Many thanks for sending me your piano compositions. I think they are a welcome addition as teaching pieces, and I will certainly urge teachers that I know to use them with their students."

Ever the experimenter, René is exploring what he calls “episodic music”—a method of composing in which a musical work is broken into ‘episodes’ that are to be performed in whatever order the performer desires. In this way, the piece is ever fresh, while the performer also becomes partly the ‘composer.’

About his music, René says: “I want my music to sing. I would like it to be immediately intelligible to anyone, regardless of his or her musical background. I’d like people to see themselves through my music, and thus to acknowledge and affirm themselves on a deep and meaningful level.”

What some others are saying…

"Dear René, Thank you so much for sending the copy of your Preludes and Inventions. I’ve played them over several times and find them quite appealing, as well as very accessible."

"Dear René! Wow! Thanks so much for giving us copies of your music. They look beautiful and the pieces are great. You are a truly wonderful composer. I will be sure to share your pieces with other pianists as well as the teachers in our UO Piano Pedagogy Program."

"Joseph’s fiery Toccata for piano was winning… A mad whirl of virtuosos passages serves as bookends for some serious soul-searching. Joseph performed it with distinction."

"I received the score for your piano Fantasy. First of all, congratulations for composing such a beautiful piece…"

Dear René, I just listened to your compositions on the Laureate site. These are beautiful pieces!

Scroll to Top