Canadian-born Joel Hastings was the winner of the 2006 8th International Web Concert Hall Competition and the 1993 International Bach Competition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. After delivering a stunning performance at the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, one reporter designated Hastings the "audience favorite" while another declared, "the kinetic fingers of this Canadian reminded me strongly of his late countryman, Glenn Gould." In a Newsweek review, he "pulled the audience to their feet after a wild performance of Franz Liszt's Totentanz." Critics have described his playing as passionate, mesmerizing, hypnotic, and transcendental.
A Steinway Artist, Hastings has performed solo recitals across Canada and the United States, while his orchestral engagements have included the Toronto Philharmonic; the Detroit, Ann Arbor, Oakville, Okanagan, Windsor, Kamloops, Niagara, Racine, Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie Symphonies; the Kitchener-Waterloo and Michigan Chamber Orchestras; the University of Michigan Symphony Band; and the Ann Arbor Concert Band. Recently he appeared in solo concerts in Ontario, Michigan, Colorado and Ohio. He also performed in Naleczow, Poland, as part of the Poland International Piano Festival. Acclaimed American composer Carter Pann has written a new piano cycle dedicated to him that he has premiered this year.
His discography includes Franz Liszt's song and operatic transcriptions, Frederic Chopin's 24 Etudes, and selections of works by Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, and Scriabin. His latest CD, Songs and Dances, includes works by Grieg and Respighi with transcriptions of music by Bach, Schubert, Wagner and Gershwin. His recordings have been selected for Canadian critic's awards, praised in publications such as American Record Guide and Musicweb International, and featured on CBC national radio as well numerous stations throughout the United States. Forthcoming, on the Naxos American Classics label, will be a recording of solo piano music by Carter Pann.
Across North America and abroad, Hastings has given masterclasses and adjudicated competitions. This summer, he will be on faculty at the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany. Hastings earned his ARCT diplomas in piano and organ from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, receiving a gold medal for the highest score in the country. He holds a doctorate in piano and a degree in organ from the University of Michigan. His former teachers include Sergei Babayan, Nina Lelchuk, Louis Nagel, and Logan Skelton. He has taught piano performance at the University of Windsor, Ontario, and Eastern Michigan University; currently he is an assistant professor of piano at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.