Joe made his TV composing debut with the score to Mud, Sweat and Tractors: The Story of Agriculture (BBC4). The four-part series was later repeated on BBC2 to considerable acclaim and was nominated for a Grierson British Documentary Award. He went on to score Shooting the War (again, BBC4) and El Alamein: The Soldiers' Story (UKTV Yesterday).
Joe has a particular compositional affinity with the voice and setting text. He has composed the music to three song cycles with poetry written by Adam Goodyer: It Was Only the Angels Who Sang (premiered at St Martin-in-the-Fields; Classical Music Magazine's 'premiere of the month' December 2005), Notes on Love (St John's, Smith Square) and its successor Notes on a City (St Stephen's Gloucester Road). Other vocal works include Sonnet 113 (St George's Bristol), Cry Apples (St Stephen's and the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon), Mirroring the Voice, commissioned for the 2005 Voice Association Conference (Royal Academy of Music and the Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall) and three sacred works for the historic London church of St Magnus the Martyr: Missa Sancti Magni, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis and The Blessing of the Bells, a litany and antiphon to accompany the consecration of the church's newly forged bells in 2009.
Instrumental concert works include pieces for the BBC Elstree Concert Band, the Metier Ensemble, the Spitalfields Festival, COMA London, the Longfordbrown Piano Duo, members of the London Sinfonietta plus orchestrations for the opening of the refurbished Colston Hall in Bristol conducted by Charles Hazlewood.
His guitar work, Indian Summer is recorded on the NMC label by Antonis Hatzinikolaou, as part of his album of works for contemporary guitar, Music of Memory.
Joe grew up in Bristol and read music at New College, Oxford. In 2006, he completed a Masters in Composition with distinction at the Royal Academy of Music.
A composition of lustrous clarity. - Kathimerini on Indian Summer
I found the composition and the arrangements quite extraordinarily beautiful. It was very powerful and moving and managed to have, for me, an ancient and contemporary and English feel all at the same time. - Jools Holland on Missa Sancti Magni
A breath of fresh air... the vocal writing [is] excellent - not something one takes for granted these days. - Sarah Walker CBE, mezzo-soprano, on Notes on Love
There's no better example of the new breed of classical composers than Joseph Atkins. - Bristol Evening Post