Joe Cutler (born London, 1968) is a British composer who studied music at the Universities of Huddersfield and Durham, before a scholarship at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, Poland. He has taught composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire since 2000, and since 2005 he has been the Head of Composition there. He is also the co-founder of the instrumental ensemble Noszferatu.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Cutler, like many of his generation, including Americans composers Michael Gordon and David Lang, and British composer Steve Martland, was influenced by the minimalist music of Louis Andriessen. Like Andriessen, Cutler rejected the atonal inheritance of Arnold Schoenberg in favour of the more rhythmically driving music of Igor Stravinsky. In these early works, Cutler showed influences ranging from Minimalism and Andriessen to 1980s avant-garde modernism and even the rhythmic aspects of the New Complexity movement. This is seen in such works as Epitaph for Nebula (1989) and Blast! (1992), where atonality and complicated driving rhythms preside.
During the 1990s, as Cutler's mature style developed, the complicated rhythms were gradually replaced with simpler, but still motoric[clarification needed], jazz inspired rhythms whilst the atonal element lost ground to allusions to Eastern-European modality and jazz. This is seen in one of his most popular works, Sal's Sax (1996), written for the De Ereprijs Ensemble. In more recent years, Cutler has developed a more lyrical side along with his influences from postminimalism, which led to works such as Awakenings (1998) and Sikorski (2005). In 2008, Cutler won the Chamber Music Category in the BBC Composer Awards with his piece, 'Folk Music'.
In 2010, Cutler was one of twenty composers commissioned to write a piece for the London 2012 Olympics.
- Epitaph for Nebula (1989), for mixed ensemble
- Blast! (1992), for clarinet, violin, cello and piano
- Gaia (1993), for viola solo
- Shamen (1994), for trombone solo
- Sal's Sax (1996), for mixed ensemble
- Awakenings (1998), for large orchestra
- Urban Myths (1999), for saxophone and piano
- Five Mobiles after Alexander Calder (2000), for soprano saxophone (or clarinet), viola and piano
- Without Fear of Vertigo (2001), for mixed ensemble
- Sikorski (2005), for mixed ensemble
- Concerto for Viola and String Orchestra (2008)
- Music for Sunflowers (2009), for viola and string orchestra
- Ping! (2012), for string quartet and four ping pong players
- Boogie Nights (2012), for mixed ensemble and mechanical organ
- BMIC profile
- Scotsman article SCO premiere of Cinnamon Street
- "Tinkle, tinkle little star" The Guardian