Joseph Julian Gonzalez

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Joseph Julián González
OccupationFilm and television composer
Years active1995–present

Joseph Julián González is an American composer based in Los Angeles, California. Working primarily as a composer for television and film, he also composes for live orchestra and choir performance.


Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, the son of former farm worker parents,[1] González began his musical education at California State University, Bakersfield, where he studied under Dr. Doug Davis, professor of composition and director of CSUB's Jazz Ensemble. Davis encouraged González to apply for a scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles, to complete his undergraduate degree, where he majored in classical guitar performance and composition for motion picture.[2] While at UCLA, González studied under David Raksin. He has also studied under Elaine Barkin, Roger Bourland, John Adams, Osvaldo Golijov, and Thomas Newman.


Early career[edit]

After finishing his education at UCLA, González toured with the New Christy Minstrels, and then became music director for Luis Valdez' El Teatro Campesino.[3]

Film and television[edit]

González' first televised composition was the PBS broadcast of La Pastorela as part of its Great Performances program. La Pastorela was initially a production of El Teatro Campesino, a Christmas pageant set in a Tex-Mex milieu, featuring Linda Ronstadt, Lupe Ontiveros, Paul Rodriguez and Cheech Marin.[4] Since then, González' compositions have been featured in over 200 films, documentaries, and television programs.[5] Some of the most prominent of his compositions for film and television include Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown and Curdled, the Academy Award-nominated documentary Colors Straight Up, Lifetime Television's feature-length Little Girl Lost, and the entire run of the Showtime series Resurrection Blvd. His work in the documentary world includes composing soundtracks for the Emmy Award-winning Made in L.A., as well as other award-winning documentaries, including Angels in the Dust, Steal a Pencil for Me, and Cowboy del Amor.

Misa Azteca[edit]

In 1997, as part of the Meet the Composer program, González was commissioned to write his Misa Azteca, which debuted on Dec. 4, 1997, at the Tijuana Cultural Center (Centro Cultural de Tijuana) performed by the Orquesta de Baja California, the Southwestern College Choir of Chula Vista, California, and Tribu, a four-piece pre-Columbian percussion ensemble from Mexico City.[6] On July 9, 2006, the Gloria from Misa Azteca was performed in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. On June 18, 2009, the Sanctus from Misa Azteca was performed in Paris, France, at the Basilica of St. Denis, performed by the Hispanic Choir of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels from Los Angeles, California, conducted by Antonio Espinal.[7] Misa Azteca was also performed at the Sorbonne and the American Cathedral in Paris (Episcopal). Selections of Misa Azteca were subsequently performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Feb. 20, 2011.[8] Members of the L.A. Philharmonic performed Misa Azteca June 19, 2011, at Walt Disney Concert Hall.[9] Misa Azteca was scheduled to be again performed as part of the Festival of the Aegean on July 10 and 11, 2013, on the island of Syros, Greece.[10]

Misa Azteca is a musical composition which combines Spanish and Latin texts of the Roman Catholic liturgy with songs from the Cantares Mexicanos, the largest collection of pre-Columbian Nahuatl songs or poems to have been recorded. González was influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor, and in the manner of Stravinsky and Orff sought to create a "similar [blend] of old and new," giving the piece "a neo-Baroque flavor."[11]


Title Year Notes
Curdled 1996
Colors Straight Up 1997 Feature documentary
Jackie Brown 1997 Song from the feature soundtrack: "Chicks Who Love Guns"
Chuck & Buck 2000 Song from the feature soundtrack: "Bittersweet"
Price of Glory 2000
Cowboy del Amor 2005 Feature documentary
Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads 2006 Feature documentary
Lalo Guerrero: The Original Chicano 2006 Feature documentary
Steal a Pencil for Me 2007 Feature documentary
Angels in the Dust 2007 Feature documentary
Made in L.A. 2007 Feature documentary
Chevolution 2008 Feature documentary
The Washingtons of Sulgrave Manor 2011 Feature documentary
S.O.S./State of Security 2011 Feature documentary
Children of Giant 2014 Feature documentary (filming)


Title Year Notes
Great Performances 1991 TV movie
For the Love of My Child: The Anissa Ayala Story 1993 TV movie
The Cisco Kid 1994 TV movie
Lifestories: Families in Crisis 1994 TV series, episode: POWER: The Eddie Matos Story
Chicano! History of the Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement 1996 TV documentary
Foto Novelas: Seeing Through Walls 1997 TV short
Foto Novelas: In the Mirror 1997 TV short
Foto Novelas: The Fix 1997 TV short
Searching for San Diego: San Ysidro 1997 TV documentary
Adventures from the Book of Virtues 1997 TV series, 6 episodes
Reyes y Rey 1998 TV series
The Border 1999 TV documentary
Resurrection Blvd. 2000 TV series
The Forgotten Americans 2000 TV documentary
Visiones: Latino Art and Culture 2004 TV mini-series documentary
Cinco de Mayo 2004 TV documentary
Survival in the Weave 2006 TV short
P.O.V. 2007 TV documentary series, episode: Made in L.A.
Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story 2008 TV movie
One Hot Summer 2009 TV movie
Los Americans 2011 TV series
We Have Your Husband 2011 TV movie
Rebel 2012 TV documentary
Meddling Mom 2013 TV movie

Short films and other works[edit]

Title Year Notes
How Else Am I Supposed To Know I'm Still Alive 1991 Short film
Pepino Mango Nance 1996 Documentary short
Echoes from Juniper Canyon 2004 Short
Rendezvous 2005 Short film
Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat: The Theater of War 2005 Video documentary short
Discovering Eloy Torres 2009 Documentary short
Rebel 2012 Video documentary (post-production)


  1. ^ Scher, Valerie (Dec 4, 1997). "A 'Gift' of the Road". San Diego Union Tribune.
  2. ^ Fields, Breanna. "Finding Fame: Joseph Julian Gonzalez". Bakersfield Life. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Panel member bio". Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  4. ^ ""Great Performances" La pastorela". Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  5. ^ Fields, Breanna. "Finding Fame: Joseph Julian Gonzalez". Bakersfield Life. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  6. ^ Scher, Valerie (Dec 4, 1997). "A 'Gift' of the Road". San Diego Union Tribune.
  7. ^ Delacroix, André. "CHOEUR DES ANGES ; BASILIQUE ET LÉGION D'HONNEUR". ResMusica: musique classique et danse. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  8. ^ Fields, Breanna. "Finding Fame: Joseph Julian Gonzalez". Bakersfield Life. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Conductor Bio of Guido Lamell". Santa Monica Symphony. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Festival of the Aegean website". Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  11. ^ Scher, Valerie (Dec 4, 1997). "A 'gift' of the road". San Diego Union Tribune.

External links[edit]