Joshua Kohlmann could be said to have begun his musical career at the fine young age of ten, when he was given the responsible position of playing the woodblock in the school play, ‘The King and I’. In fact, his love of music began at the tender age of three when he started humming selections from Mozart’s third Horn Concerto in his parents’ living room. Spotting the child’s latent talents, his parents proceeded to wean him on a diet of Rogers & Hammerstein, Flanders & Swann and Jake Thackray, elements of whose styles can be found in his later compositions, along with later influences such as Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim and William Finn.
Joshua has developed his own characteristic style through a series of encounters with academic, professional and enthusiastic musicians over the course of three decades:
It was at sixth form college that Joshua’s flowering lyrical and compositional gifts found their first expression in a tender piece entitled Driller Killer; and his first year of a Modern Languages degree at Oxford saw many new songs in similar vein, such as Toothpaste, Ode To Washing Up and I’m Glad That I’ve Got A Head. These he performed at the Mordan Hall in St Hugh’s College, Oxford, 1991, before an impressive audience of literally ten people.
Shortly thereafter he wrote his first full length musical, The Magic Formula, with a plot based on quantum mechanics, which for some reason failed to excite the masses. The following stage show, Faust, based on Part 1 of Goethe’s masterpiece which he was studying at the time, showed vastly more promise; and it was universally agreed that all it needed in order to succeed was a completely new score, which was faithfully provided by David Bignell in 1997. The resultant musical went on to delight audiences at York University Drama Barn (1997), the Edinburgh Fringe (1998), Chingford Theatre (2004) and Malton Literature Festival (2013).
Joshua has since performed his own songs everywhere from Lancashire pubs to the London Palladium. He has also supported Roger McGough in a performance of light satirical songs at the Rowntree Theatre, York, in 2014, as part of the York Literature Festival.
Joshua was nominated for the Herbert Kretzmer Lyricist Award in 1999 for his lyrics for Princess Ambrosia, a one-act musical for schools. He is currently writing a folk rock musical about warriors & evangelism and collating his songs for a forthcoming illustrated piano-vocal anthology.