Joel Alpers (drummer, percussionist, composer, and producer) was born in Tanzania and divided his childhood between East Africa and southern California. After graduating from UCLA, where he studied theory, world music, and African percussion, he has worked continuously as a freelance musician based in Los Angeles.


Joel has recorded and performed with an accomplished and eclectic roster of artists, including Carole King, Kacey Musgraves, Miguel, Mark Ballas, Adam Lambert, Josh Gad, Taylor Hicks, Steve Tyrell, David Bryan, the Temptations, Eric Marienthal, Royal Crown Revue, Melissa Fahn, the Jazz Jury, Inga Swearingen, Kate Higgins, Sheléa, the Martini Kings, Laura Dickinson, Pi, Justin Wilson, Teal Wicks, David James, Deanna Johnston, Cathy Segal Garcia, Jamie Findlay, Nutty, Funk This!, Jude Swift, Sandro Albert, Elliott Caine, Common Tongue, Red Young, Peter Himmelman, Rebbe Soul, Sam Glaser, the MVPs, and many more. As a sideman, he has worked with such notable musicians and producers as Herbie Hancock, Kelly Clarkson, Richie Sambora, Rob Chiarelli, Tony Shepperd, the Pussycat Dolls, Justo Almario, Mike Elizondo, Anthony Wilson, Greg Kurstin, Luis Conte, Cassio Duarte, Otmaro Ruiz, Lee Thornburg, Lew Soloff, Mike Fahn, Mary Ann McSweeney, Scott Kinsey, Jeff Berlin, Neil Stubenhaus, Reggie Hamilton, and many, many others.


He has contributed to numerous film and television soundtracks, for composers such as James Horner, Larry Klein, Jeffrey Abrams, Russ Kunkel, Justin Reinhardt, and Kevin Saunders Hayes, and has played on countless jingles and scoring sessions. Joel was the first call drum sub at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood for the smash Broadway musical “Wicked”, which ended its record-breaking run in January 2009, and he has played hundreds of shows with both national tours of “Wicked” as well. He has been a featured soloist with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, performed on the #1 TV show “Dancing With The Stars”, and originated the drum book for the international multimedia ensemble Vox Lumiere, touring with Vox throughout the U.S. and Europe. Joel is a mainstay on the Los Angeles and southern California theatrical orchestra scene, anchoring the pit for companies such as the Geffen Playhouse, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Orange County Perforning Arts Center, Musical Theatre West, 3-D Theatricals, the Musical Theatre Guild, the Grammy Museum, and Broadway At The Gardens.


His production credits include albums from Melissa Fahn (“Avignon”), Kate Higgins (“Sweet And Blue”, “Little Parts”), and the debut release from his band Wonk. He also co-produced releases by the groups Upper Structure (“6 by 5”) and Mosaic (“Kindred Spirits”, “Expatriate Blues”).


Joel composed and produced the music for the films “Break” (2017), “Cold Water” (2015), “The Dancer Chronicles” (2012), “Tick Tock Boom Clap” (2011), and “Old Dogs” (2009). He has written and arranged several scores for theatrical productions, including “Once” and “The Neverending Story”, and served as an assistant and consultant to the Academy Award-winning composer James Horner on the soundtrack for director James Cameron’s record-breaking blockbuster “Avatar”.


Joel has been an instructor and clinician at the USC School of Jazz, the Musicians’ Institute in Hollywood, and the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, as well as teaching master classes around the country; he currently offers private instruction.