"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), percussionist Dr. Josh Graham has had the pleasure of performing throughout the United States and Canada. He currently serves as Instructor of Percussion at the University of Northern Iowa, Principal Percussionist of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, and also performs with F-PLUS and the Zafa Collective.
Primarily active in the creation of new works for percussion in both solo and chamber music contexts, Josh has commissioned and premiered chamber works by George Tsontakis, Jessie Montgomery, Marta Ptaszynska, Charles Peck, Emma O'Halloran, Matthew Ricketts, Matthew Barnson, Dave Hollinden, and Liza Sobel Crane, among many others. He made his concerto debut in 2014 at the Aspen Music Festival with Steve Mackey's "Micro-Concerto," and has commissioned or premiered new solo works by Lera Auerbach, Thomas Kotcheff, Katherine Pukinskis, Jose Miguel Arrellano, Mike Conrad, and Griffin Candey. In funding various commissions and projects, Dr. Graham and his ensembles have received grants from New Music America, Chamber Music America, the Barlow Endowment, the American Music Project, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Irish Arts Council, and the Arts Council of New Zealand, with many of the applications written by Dr. Graham.
Josh has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Harris Hall (Aspen, CO), the Detroit Institute of Art, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Constellation, the Polish Consulate of Chicago and at dozens of universities across the country. Conference appearances include the New Music Gathering, International Computer Music Conference, the Society of Composers, Inc. Conference, the Northwestern University New Music Conference, and the International Clarinet Association "ClarinetFest." Josh has performed with prominent chamber music groups such as Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Ensemble Dal Niente, ~Nois Saxophone Ensemble, the Sinta Quartet, the Orion Ensemble, Lakeshore Rush, as well as with members of the Emerson Quartet, 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.
In addition to his orchestral work with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Graham 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 at the Aspen Music Festival.
Dr. Graham is committed to serving the next generation as an educator. In addition to his duties at the University of Northern Iowa, he serves on the faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago. He has previously taught courses at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan and served on the faculty of Triton College, Roosevelt University, and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He has also had the honor of giving percussion master classes across the country including at the University of Delaware, the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, Illinois State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, among many others.
Dr. Graham holds degrees from Central Michigan University (BM), The University of Michigan (MM), and the University of Illinois (DMA). He is proud to endorse Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Marimba One instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, and Black Swamp Percussion Instruments.