Composer Molly Joyce, redefining disability and art

Posted on: December 15, 2020

“Molly Joyce is among of the most versatile, prolific and intriguing composers working under the vast new-music dome,” writes Michael Andor Brodeur in Sunday’s (12/13) Washington Post. “She’s composed spectral, searching works for orchestra, choir, string quartet and percussion ensemble; collaborated with virtual-reality artists, dancers and poets; and studied with the likes of Samuel Adler, Martin Bresnick and Missy Mazzoli. She also teaches composition at NYU, and this year released her stunning debut album, ‘Breaking and Entering.’ And Joyce has achieved all this not so much despite a severe impairment of her left hand (the result of a childhood car accident) but through it. She has carved a unique sound as a composer by treating disability … not as an impediment but as a wellspring of creative potential.… She holds composition degrees from Juilliard, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and Yale. But as her studies broadened … she made a startling realization … ‘Classical instruments are made for very specific abilities,’ she says … ‘even new-music compositions are reiterating these flawed notions of what human ability can and should be, or disability in general.’… Joyce’s music … offers a path forward.”