Joseph Atkins grew up in Bristol and read music at New College, Oxford. In 2006, he completed a Masters in Composition with distinction at the Royal Academy of Music.

Joe has a particular compositional affinity with the voice, and with the texts of living writers. He has composed three song cycles to poetry by Adam Goodyer: It Was Only the Angels Who Sang, Notes on Love and its successor Notes on a City. His other vocal works include Cry Apples (Jonathan Swift) and Time's Best Jewel (Shakespeare) plus two settings for Voices of London, a collaborative song cycle commissioned in 2012 by Song in the City. Instrumental concert works includes pieces for the BBC Elstree Concert Band, the Metier Ensemble, the Spitalfields Festival, COMA London, the Longfordbrown Piano Duo and the New Cambridge Singers. He is also the composer of three sacred works for the historic London Bridge church of St Magnus the Martyr, including the Missa Sancti Magni for solo clarinet and vocal quartet.

In addition to the concert hall, Joe has written extensively for the theatre, with his work being performed at the Globe Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Bush Theatre, Latitude Festival and Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. He made his TV composing debut with the score to Mud Sweat and Tractors: The Story of Agriculture (BBC2/4) and went on to score Shooting the War (BBC4) and El Alamein: The Soldiers' Story (UKTV Yesterday).