Seth Josel - originally from New York, now residing in Berlin - has become one of the leading instrumental pioneers of his generation. As a soloist he has concertized in Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, France, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the US and Canada. He has performed as a guest with leading orchestras and ensembles of Europe, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra (London), the Rundfunksinfonie Orchester Berlin, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, the South German Radio Choir, the Staatskappelle Berlin and the Schönberg Ensemble of Amsterdam, and has appeared at several major European festivals including the Salzburg Festspiele, Ars Musica, Donaueschingen, The Holland Festival, Munich Biennale and London's South Bank Festival. From 1991 till 2000 he was a permanent member of the musikFabrik. In recent seasons he has been guesting regularly with KNM Berlin, Ensemble SurPlus of Freiburg as well as with the Basel Sinfonietta.
As ensemble player and soloist Seth Josel has been involved in the first performances of more than one hundred works. He has collaborated and consulted closely with such composers as Louis Andriessen, Gavin Bryars, Mauricio Kagel, Helmut Lachenmann, Tristan Murail and James Tenney. In addition, he has been highly committed to working with several of the leading young composers of our time, including Peter Ablinger, Richard Barrett, Sidney Corbett, Chaya Czernowin, Keeril Makan and Manfred Stahnke, all of whom have written works featuring his talents.
He has recorded for radio stations throughout Europe, and he appears as ensemble/chamber music performer on CDs released by Aeon, Nonesuch, Mode Records, CPO, Col Legno, Cybele Records, HetHut, New World Records, Touch Records, Edition Wandelweiser, Wergo, and Winter & Winter. In 1995 he released his first solo CD on CRI (Composers Recordings, Inc.) featuring works of contemporary American composers. His second solo CD appeared on O.O. Discs, Inc. and his third on New World Records, all featuring works of American composers. With Ulrich Krieger he collaborated on a portrait CD for Mode Records, presenting rarely heard works by Gavin Bryars. He recorded Berio's "Sequenza XI" for the complete Sequenza-Cycle which was released on Mode, and "33-127" by Peter Ablinger, was released by Mode in February 2009.
With colleagues Wiek Hijmans, Patricio Wang and Mark Haanstra from Amsterdam, he is co-founder of the quartet, Catch, which, in 2007, gave a week-long workshop at Princeton University in addition to appearing as part of the "concertino" in the U.S.-premiere of Steve Mackey's "Dreamhouse" with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Catch had a featured slot in September '07 at the second "Output" festival in Amsterdam, collaborated extensively in the Autumn '07 with the Slagwerkgroep Den Haag and performed concerts in Los Angeles, Berkeley and Grinnell during the spring of '08. In 2013, Catch appeared as the concertino with the New York Philharmonic.
In recent year Seth Josel has been a welcome guest on university and college campuses for his stimulating and diverse presentations regarding new art music. Among them are Yale, Northwestern, MSM, CalArts, Musik Akademie Basel, UdK Berlin, and the Sweelinck Konservatorium.
In addition to having published articles which concern issues related to new art music, Seth Josel is co-founder of "www.sheerpluck.de", a website dedicated to contemporary guitar music which has been online since the summer of 2003. "The Techniques of Guitar Playing", co-authored by Ming Tsao, was published by Bärenreiter Press in July 2014. Seth Josel's reconstruction of the "lost" work for solo electric guitar by Morton Feldman was published by Edition Peters in 2015. In 2016 he was named Research Fellow at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, where he will be in residence part-time till the autumn of 2017.
After acquiring his Bachelor of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music, Seth Josel enrolled at Yale University and earned the Master of Music degree; he then went on to become the first guitarist at Yale to earn the Master of Musical Arts and the Doctor of Musical Art degrees. His teachers included Manuel Barrueco, Eliot Fisk and harpsichordist Richard Rephann; as well, he has participated in the master classes of Oscar Ghiglia and Andrés Segovia. He is recipient of numerous awards and prizes including a Fulbright-Hays grant from the United States government and an Artists Stipend from the Akademie Schloß Solitude, Stuttgart.