Joseph Landers studied with Frederic Goossen at the University of Alabama, Lothar Klein at the University of Toronto, and Alexander Goehr at Cambridge.
He has been awarded fellowships by the Fulbright Foundation, the Tanglewood Music Center, the American Music Center, and the MacDowell Colony, where he was selected as the Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow in Composition for 1995-96.
His orchestral work Karangan was selected as a finalist for the 1999 Alexander Zemlinsky International Prize for Composition. In 2000 he was awarded the Thor Johnson Memorial Commission for his Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano, and in 2008 he was awarded an individual artist fellowship by the Alabama State Council on the Arts.
Landers currently serves as head of theory, composition and history at the University of Montevallo Department of Music. He was given the College of Fine Arts “Distinguished Teacher” Award for 2008-09, and was named “University Scholar” for 2010-11. In 2010, Landers was invited by the University of Cambridge to serve as visiting scholar in composition. While on sabbatical from the University of Montevallo, Landers spent the Spring semester at Cambridge teaching seminars and giving individual lessons in composition, as well as making a presentation on the music of Igor Stravinsky for the Faculty of Music Colloquium Series.
The compositions of Joseph Landers have been featured on concerts series and festivals across the U. S. and abroad including the Echizen International Music Festival (Japan), the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the AD*Evantgard Festival in Munich, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (U.K.), and at other recent festivals in France, Poland and Ecuador. In 1997 his orchestral work Nine forty-eight was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Gaudeamus Prize of Holland.
His works for orchestra have been performed by the Alabama Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, the Tuscaloosa Symphony, and various other orchestras under conductors including Justin Brown, Christopher Confessore, Jahja Ling, Ransom Wilson, Bruce Hangen, Adrian Gnam, and Jac Van Steen. Landers has also appeared as guest conductor in the performance of several of his orchestra works, including Istanpita with the Lincoln Symphony, Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra with the Newburgh Symphony and Richard Killmer as soloist, and Concerto for Four Horns and Orchestra with the Alabama Symphony and the TransAtlantic Horn Quartet as soloists. His music is regularly performed by internationally acclaimed musicians including the Miami String Quartet, the Cypress String Quartet, Lucy Shelton, Mariko Anraku, Eleonore Pameijer and Marcel Worms.