Joe Kirtley was born in the USA and started playing the horn when he was twelve years old. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the Oklahoma State University and a Master of Music in Performance from the University of Washington. His mentors include Julian Christopher Leuba, former Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. During his studies in Washington he received the prestigious Breechman Scholarship and was invited to play as soloist with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Throughout his career he has performed with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra Northwest, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. His engagements with the Seattle Opera include sixty performances of the complete Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner during the Seattle Opera’s Summer Fest. Joe Kirtley was invited to join the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in 1979 and served as the orchestra's Associate/Assistant Principal horn for seventeen years. From 1996 to 2018 he was appointed a full-time lecturer in the brass faculty at The Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts. His active involvement in Hong Kong's music community as both a performer and educator spans more than forty years. He has performed with the Hong Kong Bach Choir, a season of The Phantom of the Opera for Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and shows with Canto star Alan Tam. He has also served as an adjunct teacher at the Hong Kong Music Office, Hong Kong Baptist University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Shanghai Orchestral Academy. He is a founding member and Principal horn of City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong since 1999. In addition to performing with the orchestra he enjoys private teaching.