updated 23 July 2013
© Patricia Dietzi, Durand

Joshua Fineberg

American composer born 26 July 1969 in Boston.

Joshua Fineberg was born in Boston in 1969 and began his musical training at the age of five. He studied violin, guitar, piano, harpsichord, orchestral conducting, and composition. He attended the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, where he studied composition under Morris Moshe Cotel and won first prize in the Virginia Carty de Lillo Composition Competition.

He won an ASCAP award in 1991 and the Arnold Salop Composition Competition in 1994, as well as the Palache Scholarship, the Randolph S. Rothschild Award, and a fellowship from the American Conservatory of Fontainebleau, and was recognized by the Gaudeamus Foundation in 1992 for Origins.

In 1991, he moved to Paris and studied with Tristan Murail. The following year, he was selected by the reading committee of the IRCAM - Ensemble Intercontemporain to participate in Cursus (the IRCAM’s composition and computer music course). In 1997, he returned to the United States to pursue a doctorate in music composition at Columbia University, which he completed in May 1999. He taught at Columbia for a year, and then in the Harvard University Music Department as the John L. Loeb Associate Professor for the Humanities until 2007. He left Harvard to assume a professorship in composition and the directorship of the electronic music studios of the Boston University School of Music. In 2011, he was named an Artist Fellow of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and in 2012 became the founding director of the Boston University Center for New Music.

Joshua Fineberg has received numerous awards and residencies. His music is published by Max Eschig and Gérard Billaudot, Paris. His work has been performed extensively in Europe, America, and Asia. His major pieces include Lolita, an “imaginary opera” based on Nabokov’s novel, for actor, dancers, video, ensemble, and electronics; Speaking in Tongues, a concerto written for the fiftieth anniversity of the Percussions de Strasbourg festival (2010); Objets trouvés, for the Court-circuit ensemble (2009); La Quintina, for string quartet and electronics, composed for the Arditti Quartet, which premiered in 2013 at the Ultraschall Festival in Berlin, in collaboration with the ExperimentalStudio of Freiburg and the IRCAM.

In addition to composing and teaching, Fineberg is an active collaborator in research into acoustic psychology and the development of composition, acoustic analysis, and sound transformation software. In 2004, he was a guest editor of two special issues of the Contemporary Music Review devoted to spectral music, and served as its US editor from 2003 to 2009. He is also the author of Classical Music, Why Bother?, published by Routledge in 2006.

Fineberg’s music is one of paradox, moving from tumult to sudden contemplativeness, at once dynamic and reflective. His sound world is bright and colorful, while at the same time complex and rigorously constructed. He is part of a second generation of composers influenced by the spectral movement founded by Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail. However, he has expanded their research using cutting-edge technologies, breaking away from Grisey in his work with raw material that includes not only sound but also psychoacoustic phenomena.

© Ircam-Centre Pompidou, 2013


Joshua Fineberg, Éditions Max Eschig, Éditions Gérard Billaudot, Université de Havard, Music Department, Julian Anderson : « Un étang entouré de rides - La musique de Joshua Fineberg », dans le livret du cd Streamlines.


  • Joshua FINEBERG (entretien de Patrick JAVAULT avec) dans L’étincelle, le journal de la création à l’Ircam, novembre 2006, en ligne sur http://etincelle.ircam.fr/645.html (lien vérifié en juillet 2013).
  • Joshua FINEBERG, Classical Music, Why Bother ? : Hearing the World of Contemporary Culture through a Composer’s Ears, New York, Londres, éd. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, juin 2006.
  • Joshua FINEBERG, Classical Music, Why Bother ? article du magazine web Salon 10/2/2002 (http://www.salon.com). Publié en anglais, français, allemand, espagnol et italien dans le Brass Bulletin vol. 121 et 122, 2003.
  • Joshua FINEBERG (ed.), Contemporary Music Review, vol. 19, n° 3 (2000): Spectral Music 1: History and Techniques.
  • Joshua FINEBERG (ed.), Contemporary Music Review, vol. 19, n° 2 (2000):Spectral Music 2: Aesthetics and Music.
  • Joshua FINEBERG, « Spectral Music » dans Contemporary Music Review, volume 19, n° 2, 2000, p. 1-5.
  • Eric DAUBRESSE, Gérard ASSAYAG, Joshua FINEBERG, « Technology and creation - The creative evolution », dans Contemporary Music Review, volume 19, n° 2, 2000, p. 61-80.
  • Daniel PRESSNITZER, Stephen MCADAMS, Suzanne WINSBERG, Joshua FINEBERG : « Perception of musical tension for non-tonal orchestral timbres and its relation to psychoacoustic roughness », dans Perception and Psychophysics, vol. 62, n° 1, 2000, p. 66-80.
  • Gérard ASSAYAG, Carlos AGON, Joshua FINEBERG, Peter HANAPPE, « An Object Oriented Visual Environment For Musical Composition », Proceedings of the ICMC 97, Thessaloniki, 1997*(lien vérifié en juillet 2013).*
  • Gérard ASSAYAG, Carlos AGON, Joshua FINEBERG, Peter HANAPPE, « Problèmes de notation dans la composition assistée par ordinateur », dans les Actes des Rencontres Musicales Pluridisciplinaires, Musique et Notation. GRAME, Lyon, 1997 (lien vérifié en juillet 2013).
  • Gérard ASSAYAG, Peter HANAPPE, Carlos AGON, Joshua FINEBERG, « Problèmes de quantification et de transcription en composition assistée par ordinateur », dans Musique and mathématiques. Rencontres Musicales Pluridisciplinaires GRAME, Musiques en Scène 1996, Lyon, Aléas, 1996 (lien vérifié en juillet 2013).


  • Joshua FINEBERG, Tremors ; Lightning ; Fantastic Zoology ; Grisaille ; Veils ; Till Human Voices Wake Us, Marilyn Nonken (piano, avec une œuvre d’Hugues Dufourt, 1 cd Metier, 2012.
  • Joshua FINEBERG, 1*. Empreintes* ; 2. Veils ; 3. Shards ;4. The Texture of Time ;5. Broken symmetries, Ensemble Fa (1, 5), Jeffrey Milarksy : direction (1), Eric Daubresse : computer music designer (1), Dominique My : piano (2), direction (5), Patrice Bocquillon : flûte (3, 4), Olivier Voize : clarinette (3), Isabelle Veyrier : violoncelle (3), Stefan Tiedje : computer music designer (4), 1 cd Mode Records, 2007, mode 208.
  • Joshua FINEBERG, Streamlines, comprenant aussi, Tremors ; A ripple-ringed pool ; Paradigms ; Breathe ; Recueil de pierre et de sable, Jean-Marie Cottet, Catherine Bowie, Nicolas Miribel, Ensemble Court-Circuit, Pierre-André Valade, 1 cd Accord-Universal - MFA - Ircam - Centre Pompidou, 2002, 472 363-2.
  • Joshua FINEBERG, Till Human Voices wake us, avec des œuvres de Philippe Fénelon et Frédéric Durieux : Hommage à Dominique Troncin, ensemble Fa, Dominique My, MFA - Radio France, 216007, HM 73.

Liens internet