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Joel Goodman is an American film composer, music business entrepreneur and educator.

His work has appeared at every major film festival in the world and includes scores to films and television programs that have received 5 Oscar nominations, 20 Emmy awards and over 30 Emmy nominations. Prior to scoring films, Joel composed music for advertising and produced records, including those for Chuck Mangione,[1] Livingston Taylor[2] and Carla Lother.[3] In 1999, he founded the record label Museum Music[4] and in 2002 co-founded the music licensing and publishing company MusicBox.[4][5] Joel conducts university master classes in the US and Europe, is a regular panelist for such organizations as ASCAP, IFP, AFI and SCL amongst others, and currently serves on the board of the Production Music Association,[6] where he is the Chairman of the Performing Rights Committee.


Early lifeEdit

Joel was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Queens, where he learned to play his first instrument (the trumpet) from the legendary public school music educator Allen Stier. He attended high school in Manhattan at The High School of Music & Art,[7] studying jazz with Justin DiCioccio and orchestral performance with Sydney Baker while taking private bass lessons from Rich Samalin and Ken Smith. As a result, Joel played trumpet in the orchestra, and wrote arrangements and played bass for his high school jazz band. Some notable classmates of Joel's include Charley Drayton, Bernard Wright, Sterling Campbell, Tony Mangurian, Larry Aberman, Erik Sanko, Eric Rosenberg, Roey Shamir and Marcus Rojas.

Berklee College of MusicEdit

Joel attended the Berklee College of Music as a double major focusing on both bass performance and jazz composition and arranging.[7] This gave him the opportunity to study with such greats as Herb Pomeroy, Michael Gibbs, Bob Freedman, John LaPorta, Gary Burton, John Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi, Steve Swallow and Bruce Gertz.

It was during this time that Joel joined the jazz/world/fusion band Ananda founded by composer and guitarist Claudio Ragazzi. Their first album, titled Amazonia, was recorded for the record label Sonic Atmospheres and was produced by Craig Huxley.[8] The band toured regularly in the Northeastern United States and occasionally included appearances by Ralph Towner as a member of the live band.

Early careerEdit

After graduating from Berklee in 1984, Joel moved back to New York City and began his music career as a live and studio session bassist.[7] In 1991 he became a staff composer for the music production house North Forty Music where he composed music for hundreds of major national television advertisements including those for American Express, Budweiser, IBM, Gatorade and Procter & Gamble.[7] Joel worked at North Forty Music until 1999, when he left to pursue composing for film full-time.

Record ProducerEdit

Beginning in 1996, Joel produced 4 records for the acclaimed audiophile record label Chesky Records.

Year Artist Album Title Label
1996 I Ching Of the Marsh and the Moon[9] Chesky Records
1997 Livingston Taylor Ink[2] Chesky Records
1999 Carla Lother Ephemera[3] Chesky Records
2000 Chuck Mangione Everything For Love[1] Chesky Records

Composer for FilmEdit

Joel's first score, for a documentary film called My Knees Were Jumping, came about by a chance meeting with an old high school friend on the streets of New York City. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1996 and opened the door for many more film scoring opportunities to come.[7]

While the music was being mixed into the film prior to its release, another film producer in the studio next door came in to inquire about the music, and this ultimately led to Joel's next scoring project. Green Chimneys premiered at the Sundance Film Festival the following year. When the editor from Green Chimneys was hired to edit the Albert Maysles film Concert of Wills: Building the Getty Center, Joel was asked to provide the music - an opportunity that played an important role in his subsequent founding of Museum Music.

Joel has since gone on to score over 100 films, and has collaborated with many distinguished directors and producers including Wong Kar-wai, Kevin Spacey, Albert Maysles, Andrew Jarecki, Barbara Kopple, Mark Zwonitzer, Michael Epstein, Oren Jacoby, Irene Taylor Brodsky, Marshall Curry, Sebastian Junger and Fisher Stevens.[10]

In 2012, Joel received an Emmy Award in recognition of his score to the film Saving Pelican #895. The award was presented as part of the 33rd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Music & Sound.[11]

Documentary Film Scoring Credits (Partial List)Edit

Film Title Filmmaker Release Info
Voyeur dir. Josh Koury, Myles Kane Netflix; 2017 New York FF
Shadowman dir. Oren Jacoby 2017 Tribeca FF
Hell on Earth dir. Sebastian Junger, Nick Quested National Geographic; 2017 Tribeca FF
Obit dir & prod. Vanessa Gould Amazon; 2016 Tribeca FF; 2016 Hot Docs; 2016 AFI Docs
La Laguna dir. Aaron Shock 2016 Hot Docs; 2016 Full Frame FF
The Boys of '36 dir. Margaret Grossi PBS
Everything is Copy dir. Jacob Bernstein, Nick Hooker HBO; 2015 New York FF
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah dir. Adam Benzine HBO
An Honest Liar dir. Tyler Measom & Justin Weinstein HBO
Bad Boys dir. Zak Levitt ESPN - 30x30
JFK dir. Susan Bellows PBS - American Experience
Running From Crazy dir. Barbara Kopple OWN; 2013 Sundance FF
Miss You Can Do It dir. Ron Davis HBO
The Diplomat dir. Jennifer Arnold and Senain Kheshgi ESPN – Nine for IX; Tribeca FF
MAKERS: Women Who Make America dir. Barak Goodman PBS
American Winter dir. Joe Gantz and Harry Gantz HBO; 2013 Portland Intl. FF
Which Way is the Front Line from Here? dir. Sebastian Junger HBO; 2013 Sundance FF
Clinton dir. Barak Goodman PBS - American Experience
Being Elmo dir. Constance Marks PBS; 2011 Sundance FF Award Winner
$ellebrity dir. & prod. Kevin Mazur & Tricia Nolan 2012 SXSW FF
Saving Pelican #895 dir. Irene Taylor-Brodsky HBO
Hot Coffee dir. Susan Saladoff HBO; 2011 Sundance FF
Triangle Fire dir. Jamila Wignot PBS – American Experience
Buck dir. Cindy Mehl Theatrical; 2011 Sundance FF Award Winner *additional music
My Lai dir. Barak Goodman PBS – American Experience; Peadbody & Emmy Winner
Once Brothers dir. Michael Tolajian ESPN – 30×30
A Small Act dir. Jennifer Arnold HBO; 2010 Sundance FF
Valentino: The Last Emperor dir. Matt Tyrnauer Theatrical; 2009 Toronto FF
Wyatt Earp dir. Rob Rapley PBS – American Experience
A Village Called Versailles dir. Leo Chiang PBS – ITVS
Grand Central dir. Michael Epstein PBS – American Experience
Buffalo Bill dir. Rob Rapley PBS – American Experience
Combat Diary dir. Michael Epstein A&E; 2007 Emmy Award Nomination
Worse than War dir. Mike DeWitt PBS
Racing Dreams dir. Marshall Curry; prod. Bristol Baughan ESPN
The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln dir. Barak Goodman; prod. Jamila Ephron PBS – American Experience
Breaking the Huddle dir. & prod. Joe Lavine HBO Sports – Emmy Winner
Looking for Lincoln dir. & prod. John Maggio & Muriel Soenens PBS
Walt Whitman dir. Mark Zwonitzer PBS – American Experience
Kit Carson dir. Steven Ives PBS – American Experience
Hear & Now dir. Irene Taylor Brodsky HBO; 2007 Sundance FF Audience Award Winner
Constantine’s Sword dir. Oren Jacoby First Run Features
Rain In A Dry Land dir. Anne Makepeace PBS; 2006 Full Frame FF
The Cats of Mirikitani dir. & prod. Linda Hattendorf PBS; 2006 Tribeca FF
Sister Rose’s Passion dir. Oren Jacoby; prod. Steve Kalafer HBO; 2005 Academy Award Nomination
Bearing Witness dir. Marijana Wooten; prod. Barbara Kopple A&E; 2005 Tribeca FF
Final Cut dir. Michael Epstein; prod. Rachel Horovitz Trio; 2005 Berlin & Toronto FF
To Be Alive! (restored 2004) dir. Francis Thompson; prod. Alex Albenese Academy Award Winner
Just A Clown dir. Andrew Jarecki; prod. Marc Smerling 2005 Sundance FF
Novel Reflections: The American Dream dir. Michael Epstein PBS – American Masters
The Collector of Bedford Street dir. & prod. Alice Elliott HBO; 2003 Academy Award Nomination
Robert Capa: In Love and War dir. Ann Makepeace; prod. Joanna Rudnick PBS; 2003 Sundance FF
Children Underground dir. Edet Belzberg; prod. Alan Oxman & Michel Negroponte HBO; 2002 Academy Award Nomination; Special Jury Award Sundance FF
Too Hot Not To Handle dir. Susan Lester; prod. Laurie David & Joe Lovett HBO
Las Vegas dir. Stephen Ives; prod. Amanda Pollak PBS – American Experience
The Staircase dir. Jean-Xavier Lestrade; prod. Denis Poncet ABC/Sundance
Happy To Be Nappy dir. Diane Kolyer; prod. Ellen Goosenberg HBO 2004 Emmy Award Winner
Born Rich dir. Jamie Johnson; prod. Nick Kurzon & Dirk Wittenborn HBO; 2004 Emmy Nominee; Sundance FF
Seabiscuit dir. Stephen Ives; prod. Eve Morgenstern PBS 2003 Emmy Award Winner
Making The Cut dir. Mike Tolajian; prod. Ray Romano & Matt Marantz HBO
10 Days That Changed America: Antietam dir. Michael Epstein; prod. Caroline Suh History Channel
None Without Sin dir. Michael Epstein; prod. Elizabeth McNeill PBS – American Masters
The Burning Wall dir. & prod. Hava Kohav Beller PBS; 2002 Berlin FF
A Boy's Life dir. Rory Kennedy; prod. Liz Garbus HBO; 2002 Tribeca FF
The Children of Chabannes dir. & prod. Lisa Gossels & Dean Weatherall HBO 2001 Emmy Award Nomination
American Standoff dir. Kristi Jacobson; prod. Barbara Kopple HBO; Sundance FF
Brooklyn North Homicide (Theme & Series) dir. Daniel Elias; prod. David Houts Court TV / BBC
Beauty In A Jar dir. Lisa Ades; prod. Lesli Klainberg A&E
In Search of China dir. Emma Joan Morris; prod. Robert Fruchtman PBS
In My Corner dir. Ricki Stern; prod. Annie Sundberg PBS
Concert of Wills: Building the Getty Center dir. Susan Froemke; prod. Albert Maysles Maysles Films
What About Me? dir. Ben Allanoff; prod. Ted Hope Good Machine
Green Chimneys dir. Constance Marks; prod. Neil Parent HBO; Sundance FF
My Knees Were Jumping dir. Melissa Hacker; prod. Melissa Hacker PBS; Sundance FF
Superchief dir. Nick Kurzon; prod. Nick Kurzon HBO

Narrative Film Scoring Credits (Partial List)Edit

Film Title Filmmaker Release Info
Canvas dir. Joseph Greco; prod. Sharon Lane, Adam Hammel, Bruce Beresford Screen Media Films
Club Soda dir. Paul Carafotes; prod. Paul Carafotes, Jake Steinfeld, James Gandolfini Independent, included in Stories USA
The Hire: The Follow dir. Wong Kar-wai; prod. David Fincher
Evenhand dir. Joseph Pierson; prod. Jon Glascoe Sharp/Hart
Disorder dir. & prod. Jack Smith Universal
Interstate 84 dir. Ross Partridge; prod. Tonia Lynn; Kevin Spacey Trigger Street Productions
UnderMind dir. Nevil Dwek; prod. Andy Fierberg & Amy Hobby Double A Films
Lisa Picard is Famous dir. Griffin Dunne; prod. Dolly Hall & John Penotti GreeneStreet Films *additional music
The Forgotten dir. Vincente Stassolla; prod. Henry Simonds 1918 Productions
How to Kill a Mockingbird dir. Joe Sweet; prod. Amy Brewster Sweet Films
Cherry dir. & prod. Joseph Pierson & Jon Glascoe Cypress Films
Hoboken Tales dir. Jay Gable; prod. George Belshaw JudgeBelshaw Entertainment
Origin of the Species dir. Andres Heinz; prod. David Nickoll Panorama Releasing
Seed dir. Bobby Sheehan; prod. Sarah Feldmann IFC Films

Museum MusicEdit

In 1999, Joel founded the record label Museum Music[4] that specializes in creating custom music CDs for museums and related cultural organizations. That year, New York's Museum of Modern Art was hosting a Jackson Pollock exhibition. The museum was looking to create a compilation CD of music to accompany the exhibition, and Joel was contacted as music consultant. Seeing a unique opportunity, Joel successfully pitched MoMA to create the compilation himself, and thus Museum Music was born. "Jackson Pollock Jazz" featured music licensed directly from the artist's personal collection,[12] and was an immediate success. Shortly after, Museum Music landed business with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, which was preparing for its grand opening at the time, and has since grown to service dozens of major cultural institutions around the world.

Music PublishingEdit

In 2002 Joel and longtime college friend Daniel Stein founded the music licensing and publishing company MusicBox.[4][5] Under Joel's leadership, the company licensed and produced custom music for all types of visual media, ultimately growing to include 24 catalogs and over 30,000 songs with representation in more than 45 countries worldwide. Ole Music Publishing, one of the largest independent music publishers in the world, acquired MusicBox in 2011.[13]

Education and AdvocacyEdit

Joel strongly supports and advocates for the fair and just valuation of music. As a board member of the Production Music Association[6] and chair of its Performing Rights Committee, Joel works to educate the membership on best practices for effectively valuing and exploiting their copyrights in today's evolving music industry. He is a regular panelist for such organizations as ASCAP, IFP, AFI and SCL, providing insight and expertise on these same issues, and has served as an ASCAP industry representative in meetings with members of the U.S. Congress, advocating for the rights of artists.

In addition, Joel leads film music workshops at universities, conferences and film festivals around the world,[14] encouraging the creative process and guiding both students and peers on effective methods for creative collaboration between composers and filmmakers.


Joel is an active cyclist and fan of cycling. He rides over 7,500 miles a year, has ridden the entire length of the California coast twice, and has ridden across the United States from Canada to Mexico.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit