Joanne D. Carey studied composition with Lou Harrison, Tikey Zes, and Alan Strange at San Jose State University where she earned B.A. and M.A. degrees (1979, 1986). She spent a decade (1983-1993) as a visiting composer at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) during which she composed three computer-generated pieces. These include gamelan R-gong gong (1984), a piece based on gamelan structures and two pieces using John Chowning’s voice-instrument program, Clouds’ Lament (1988), and Intonations of the Wind (1990). The latter two developed detailed control of synthesized voices to produce unusual choral effects. Clouds’ Lament was described as “essentially an atonal fantasia . . . with ethereal, gliding voices . . . evocative and poetic piece” (Palo Alto Daily News) and Intonations of the Wind as “a rich polyphony . . . well balanced, beautifully processed and crafted into orchestral textures” (Computer Music Journal). Her involvement with CCRMA continued to have a major influence on the direction of her musical energies. The following decade, she took up the radio-baton, a unique controller invented at CCRMA by professor Max Matthews, (Max Mathews Radio Baton Demonstration – YouTube). Intrigued by this accompanying instrument, she composed and transcribed seven pieces for it that were performed with various instrumental and vocal soloists. Among these are Three Spanish Songs for soprano and radio baton inspired by poetry of Pablo Neruda. They have been performed at concerts around the United States as well as in Poland, Mexico, and Hong Kong. A recording featuring soprano Maureen Chowning is available from the composer. Other major pieces in this oeuvre include Adventures on a Theme (1997) for flute and radio baton that features a radio-baton improvisation movement based on programs in C++ created by the composer, and Sinfonia Concertante (2008) for French horn and radio-baton. An instrumental version of Sinfonia Concertante was released in 2014 on the Navona Records album FOUNDATIONS.
In 2018, her Piano Trio No.1: Solo la Sombra was recorded by Trio Casals and performed in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in May. This piano trio was a transposition of a previous vocal setting of Neruda’s poetry for soprano, piano, and cello. The composer feels extremely fortunate to be able to collaborate with Trio Casals a second time and enjoy their virtuosic playing and expressive grasp of the nuances of her latest Piano Trio No. 2.