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B i o g r a p h y

Joseph Thalken is an award-winning composer, conductor and pianist whose theater and concert works have been performed internationally. His music has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Somerled Charitable Foundation and the Shen Family Foundation. 


Thalken is the composer of the musicals Harold and Maude, Was, Borrowed Dust, Fall of ’94, and Inventions for Piano. His concert works encompass chamber, choral, orchestral, wind ensemble and vocal music. His chamber orchestra ballet, Chasing Home, commissioned by Bruce Wood Dance, is receiving a world-premiere recording  by the Dallas Chamber Symphony, conducted by Richard McKay.


He has served as music director and/or arranger for luminaries of Broadway and classical music, including Julie Andrews, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Renée Fleming, Rebecca Luker, Marin Mazzie, Kristin Chenoweth, Liza Minnelli, Polly Bergen, Faith Prince, Elizabeth Futral, Catherine Malfitano, Denyce Graves, Joshua Bell, Michael Crawford, Howard McGillin, Michael Winther, Jason Danieley, Nathan Gunn, Rodney Gilfry and Brian Stokes Mitchell, among many others. He performed with the New York Philharmonic for their 2019 Spring Gala, for which he also wrote several orchestrations.


After graduating from Northwestern University, he worked at the Zurich Opera Studio and spent several years at the Stadttheater Aachen (Germany) as a conductor, pianist and composer. A long-time New York City resident, he has taught music theater composition at Yale University. 

Joseph Thalken ladder
Photo by Laura Marie Duncan 
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