joseph caulkins

Adventurous is a fitting descriptor for Joseph Caulkins. It has been used to describe his reputation for bold programming, world premieres and unique collaborations on the conductor’s podium, to his knack for vibrant storytelling as a freelance writer, to his pursuits as an experienced alpinist. These diverse interests shape the quality of his music making, writing, climbing and life. Whether it be a professional orchestra, singers, dancers, high school students, circus artists, people living with Parkinson’s, or Key Chorale, he is fueled by bringing out the best in everyone.

As a guest conductor, Maestro Caulkins has led The Venice Symphony, Space Coast Pops, The Sarasota Ballet and The Southwest Florida Symphony where he was also Associate Conductor/Director of Choruses from 2001-2010. Prior to his arrival in Florida, he was Artistic Director/Conductor of the Bach Chamber Choir (Rockford, IL) and directed the St. Procopius Chamber Orchestra and Choirs at Benedictine University (Lisle, IL). With his choruses, Mr. Caulkins has produced numerous CDs, led European concert tours, conducted world and regional premieres and commissioned new works from Dale Warland, Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjeilo among others.

In 2019, Maestro Caulkins received the “Arts Leadership Award for Artistic Achievement” from the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County for his many seasons as Artistic Director of Key Chorale. His performances of new and rarely heard works in styles as diverse as masterworks, pops, contemporary,
Baroque – even ballet – have become his trademark. Joseph’s passion for education and community outreach have shaped much of the chorale’s programming and mission during his tenure.

Last summer Joseph released his new book “Developing Choral Sound Through the Warm-up,” 200+ tried and true vocal exercises for solo singers, teachers, conductors and choirs, which is available through Amazon and on his website.

An experienced alpinist, Mountain Joe has climbed hundreds of peaks throughout the US, Canada, France, Switzerland and Italy including Mount Rainier, Grand Teton, Mont Blanc and the iconic Matterhorn. He has enjoyed the occasional unplanned bivouac high on the mountain, knows what lightning “feels” like, glissades with uncanny skill and speed, and once had a marmot eat most of his gear.

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