Josiah Wolf Oberholtzer is a composer and researcher, born in Boston in 1984.

In Zaira (2014), Josiah Wolf Oberholtzer placed two identifiable sounding objects in his healthier world of rummaging and rooting: a bang-bang-bang pulsation and a tremolo piano harmony, the only real echoes of what most of us know as music. With the aid of a conductor mapping out beats and gestures we were given some sense of where we humans have been.

His music has been played in the US, Germany and Israel. Recent works include the viola duet Invisible Cities (ii): Armilla for Elizabeth Weisser and John Pickford Richards, Invisible Cities (i): Zaira, an octet for Ensemble Mosaik, and Plague Water a quartet for Ensemble Nikel. Ensemble Kaleidosop commissioned Aurora, a 22-voice string orchestra piece for a festival commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of Iannis Xenakis. It was premiered in Berlin’s Kammermusiksaal in August of 2011. He has also composed numerous large-scale multi-channel works for Harvard University’s HYDRA 40-channel speaker orchestra.

His research interests range over live electronics, algorithmic composition, music-informatics and audio analysis. He is one of the lead architects of Abjad, a Python API for formalized score control. Abjad provides a powerful object-oriented interface to the LilyPond music typesetting engine, and has facilitated all of his acoustic compositions since 2009.

He also works as a sound designer, helping other composers realize the electronic aspects of their compositions. He engineered the live-electronic setups for Stefan Prins’ widely-performed Generation Kill and Piano Hero II, integrating video game controllers and live video capture with instrumental performers.

He is currently completing a doctorate in composition at Harvard University, where he has studied with Hans Tutschku, Chaya Czernowin and Steven Kazuo Takasugi. He has also attended the Summer Akademy at Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, and previously completed a Bachelors of Music at Oberlin Conservatory in 2006, where he studied with Lewis Nielson and Randolph Coleman.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Abjad

  • Supriya

  • Consort

  • Music21