"Leading Zafa's uniquly marimba-heavy program, this uninterrupted, meditative solo showcase [Wijeratne's The Spirit and the Dust] gave Graham a much deserved moment in the sun. His technical facility assured a gleaming performance of this intricate, emotionally roving piece, but Graham's thoughtful artistry elevated it to another plane altogether." - Chicago Classical Review, Zafa Collective Opens New Year with Virtuosic Diversity, January 7, 2019
"One of Ptaszyńska’s most famous works, Graffito for solo marimba, followed. Taking her inspiration from art, Ptaszyńska wrote the piece based on the blocks of color in a painting that was displayed in the room. Joshua Graham wowed with mind-boggling virtuosity in this technically and musically challenging tour de force. His dynamic control was especially notable, as he created musical lines and shapes out of seemingly random processions of notes." Chicago Classical Review, Composer Marta Ptaszynska is Feted in Style by the Zafa Collective, March 19, 2022
Praised as "beguiling" (Chicago Tribune) and a "superb performer" (Chicago Classical Review), Josh Graham is a percussionist based in Chicago. As a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and drum set artist, Josh has had the the pleasure of performing throughout the United States and Canada. He has commissioned and premiered dozens of new works for percussion, including pieces by George Tsontakis, Jessie Montgomery, Marta Ptaszynska, Charles Peck, Emma O'Halloran, Matthew Rickets, Matthew Barnson, Dave Hollinden, Lera Auerbach, Thomas Kotcheff, and Katherine Pukinskis, among many others.
Josh is one third of the trio F-PLUS (fplusmusic.com) and percussionist and program director for the Zafa Collective (zafacollective.com). Recent performances have brought him to Carnegie Hall, the Art Institute of Chicago, Constellation, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, and universities throughout the country including the Eastman School of Music, the Cincinnati Conservatory, the University of Texas at Austin, Stony Brook University, Washington University, and Duke University, among others. As a soloist, Josh has performed with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble, the Lawrence North High School Percussion Ensemble (Indianapolis), at the International Computer Music Conference, the Society of Composers, Inc. Conference, and as a recitalist presented by the Mackinac Arts Council and at universities throughout the country. Josh has performed with groups and artists such as Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Orion Ensemble, Lakeshore Rush, as well as with members of the Silk Road Ensemble, Detroit Symphony, eighth blackbird, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. His performances have been broadcast on WFMT-Chicago, WBLV-West Michigan, and WPRB-Princeton.
As an orchestral percussionist and timpanist, Josh has performed with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, Midland Symphony (MI), Michigan Philharmonic, and in the summers as Principal Timpanist with the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra.
Festival experience includes the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Ear Taxi Festival, the Chicago Duo Piano Festival, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, and two summers as the percussionist with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, on a full fellowship as part of the Aspen Music Festival and School. In 2014, Josh performed as soloist with the group on Steve Mackey's "Micro-Concerto." Groups that Josh performs with have received grants from Chamber Music America, the Barlow Endowment, the Luminarts Foundation, the New Zealand Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Irish Arts Council, and the American Music Project.
Josh is committed to serving the next generation as an educator. He has had the honor of giving percussion master classes at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Illinois State, University, Northeastern Illinois University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Grand Valley State University, and Central Michigan University. He currently teaches at Roosevelt University, Triton College and the Music Institute of Chicago. He has previously taught courses at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan and served on the percussion faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.
Josh received his education at Central Michigan University (BM), The University of Michigan (MM), and is currently in the final stages of his DMA at the University of Illinois. He is proud to endorse Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Marimba One instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, and Black Swamp Percussion Instruments.