about | composer, pianist, educator
Joseph Sheehan is a composer, pianist, and educator immersed in three music environments: jazz, classical, and global folk traditions. His music and performances embrace a diversity of music traditions and perspectives, woven together to express ideas of tolerance, unity, and wisdom.
Open to many paths of musical expression, Sheehan has performed with jazz masters in Pittsburgh and NYC; crossover artists in Italy; folk musicians from Ghana, Uganda, Cuba, Brazil, and China; rappers and DJs; and classical chamber ensembles. His compositions and performances have been heard at jazz clubs, concert halls, music festivals and conferences, universities, museums, and parks in the U.S., Canada, Italy, Ghana and Uganda. Some of these performances were genre-defying collaborative concerts where music interacted with dance, poetry, and visual art.
At the heart of his work is the ensemble Kinetic, a music collective whose performances blend global folk traditions with modern jazz. The group has released two critically acclaimed recordings of Ghanaian folk songs (Dances of Lake Volta , Songs of Lake Volta ) interwoven with original music composed by Sheehan. These compositions were shaped by three extended research trips to Ghana to study its traditional music and dance with Ghanaian musicians between 2008-2014.
Sheehan is an associate professor of Musicianship at Duquesne University, an artist faculty at the Clazz International Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy, and a private teacher of composition and piano. At Duquesne he has taught classes on Songwriting, African Music, Composition, Musicianship, and the Adaptive Ensemble, which has students designing, producing, and performing a concert in collaboration with a guest community artist.