Music Composition
Music Performance
Writing/ Editing/ Consulting


Joshua Musikantow has been active as a composer and a percussionist, with performances in England, France, the Czech Republic, and the United States, and as a creative writer (specializing in poetry), editor, and writing consultant. Born in Chicago, 1981, he currently resides in the twin cities.


He earned his BM in Music Composition at Lawrence University, his MA in Music Composition at the University at Buffalo, and his PhD in Music Composition at the University of Minnesota. His dissertation advisor was the acclaimed Scottish New Complexity composer, James Dillon. He earned his BA in English from Lawrence University, has 12 graduate level creative writing credits at the University of Minnesota, and studied writing in not-for-credit programs at Bennington College and the College of St. Scholastica.


Writing for both acoustic and electronic mediums, the hallmarks of his musical language are explorations of non-traditional tuning systems, use of unorthodox and originally developed techniques as primary resources rather than extended ones, shamanic drumming, and an aphoristic approach to musical forms whereby many semi-autonomous moments populate a larger, fractured cosmology. He was a recipient of the 2013 McKnight Fellowship. He was awarded a 2012 JFund grant for his work, Lisp. His piece, Comma, was a winner of the 2012 Zeitgeist call for scores. His music has also earned him various academic honors and featured spots in festivals, including PureGold, SPARK, Etchings, CASMI, Interlochen Composers Institute, and Oregon Bach. Back to top

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Percussion Performance

As a performer, Musikantow is primarily known for his use of frame drums, tongue drums, and found objects, many of which he coats in beeswax and plays like a friction idiophone (i.e. by rubbing rather than striking). He was a founding member of James Dillon’s Contemporary Music Workshop, and has performed with them for several years, with a special focus on the intuitive works of Stockhausen that intertwine free and composed elements. He has performed alongside the twin-cities-based Zeitgeist ensemble, as well as Arditti quartet cellist Rohan de Saram. He was a 5-year member of LUPÉ, which performs African, Cuban and Brazilian music alongside Western chamber music. His primary percussion instructor during his undergraduate studies was Dane Richeson. Back to top

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His album, Etched in Twilight, features his early, undergraduate works. It is still available on i-Tunes music store. You can hear more recent works here.

etched in twilight pic


A selected reader for the inauguration of Lawrence president Jill Beck and a runner up for the Hicks prize in poetry, his writing is known for its integration of autobiographical and surrealist elements. You can read some of his work here.

He was an editor of the Lawrence University literary magazine, Tropos, for which he also hosted a variety of events. He was the editor-in-chief of the Wit and Half-Wit literary magazines, and a founding member of the SMUDGE creative writing club.

More recently, he has taken interest in newer, interdisciplinary mediums, including interactive fiction (using the Inform7 programming language), comics, and the integration of both spoken word and non-linguistic vocalizations into his music.

He is currently a writing consultant for Ragnarok, and is available as a consultant and coach for creative projects, paper writing, and grant writing.

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