Joseph Martin Waters

Joseph Martin Waters
Laptop and Composition

Joseph Martin Waters (born 1952) aka Jozefius is an American classical composer known for writing chamber and orchestral music combined with electronics and rock. His style of composition combines European classical with American popular and jazz musical traditions. He also mounts music festivals designed to bridge the gap between popular and classical. 

Waters is the founder and Artistic Director of NWEAMO (New West Electro-Acoustic Music Organization). NWEAMO is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt and volunteer-run group of individuals dedicated to promoting the work of living composers and increasing public awareness of contemporary performing arts. Beginning in 1998, NWEAMO has presented an annual showcase, The NWEAMO Festival, that travels between San Diego and various international locations, to date Berlin, Tokyo, Boulder, Mexico City, Miami, New York City, Portland OR, Morelia (Mexico) and Venice (Italy) — where there is on-going programming.

NWEAMO Mission: to forge connections between the composers, performers and lovers of avant garde classical music and the DJs, MCs, guitar-gods, troubadours and gourmets of experimental popular music. When there is no connection, both suffer: When classical music does not connect with popular culture, it becomes a music of experts, unable to reflect and contribute meaningfully in the broad marketplace of developing ideas and cultural experimentation. When popular music has no connection and communication with the classical it becomes naive and superficial, untethered to its historical roots and broad cultural underpinnings. A healthy cultural milieu celebrates both. 

Waters also collaborates with visual artists (writing music for live performance, film, dance and public art). His musical theater-opera hybrid “The Magic Hummingbird – El Colibrí Mágico” was premiered by Opera Tijuana in 2023 and is available via YouTube.

Synopsis: “The Magic Hummingbird – El Colibrí Mágico” concerns a trio of San Diego, California rising star punk rockers who travel across the border to sister city Tijuana, Mexico to make their international debut. They become transformed by plant spirits and join a group of refugees, and journey back across the border with them, through a magical tunnel, the body of a giant snake placed under the desert by the Goddess of the Moon.

His wide ranging compositions and music videos can be found throughout streaming media under various labels: Joseph Martin Waters, Swarmius, Joseph Waters, @jozegius, Swarmius Chamber Orchestra

He wrote music for chime rail commissioned by Sculptor Roman De Salvo (a $200,000 bridge railing tuned by De Salvo so that the composition, Crab Carillon – a palindrome, can be heard by striking the brass railing bells with a stick from either direction).

He performs and composes for the SWARMIUS Ensemble, a hybrid rock band chamber orchestra based in San Diego.

His music has been performed widely at venues including: Australasian Computer Music Conferences Melbourne & Perth (Australia), Beethoven-Haus (Bonn Germany), Bomb the Space Festival Wellington (New Zealand), Composer’s Hall Moscow Conservatory (Russia), Festival Internacional Cervantino Guanajuato (Mexico), Hong Kong Cultural Center, Hungarian Radio hosted Budapest & Nadasdy Castle (Hungary), Ljubljana Cultural Center (Slovenia), Rosario & San Martin de los Andes (Argentina), SEAMS Fylkingen Stockholm (Sweden), Joe’s Pub (New York City), Southern Theater Minneapolis, Theater Kikker (Utrecht Netherlands), Tsing Hua University (Beijing China), UNAM (Mexico City), University of Cadiz & Conservatorio Superior de Musica Valencia (Spain), Univ of Chile (Santiago), Wellington (New Zealand), Venetto Jazz Festival & Acadamia di Canto (Venice Italy), Warsaw Electronic Festival (Poland), and other locations …

Currently professor and coordinator of music composition at San Diego State University, Waters studied composition at Yale University (M.M. 1982), the Universities of Oregon (Ph.D. 2002) and Minnesota (B.S. 1980), as well as Stockholms Musikpedagogiska Institut.
His primary teachers were Jacob Druckman, Bernard Rands, Roger Reynolds, Dominick Argento, and Martin Bresnick.