Biography

Composer and guitarist Aaron Grad (b. 1980) merges his rock and jazz roots with his classical training to create music that The Washington Post has described as “inventive and notably attractive.” Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Grad was a listless student of piano and violin from age five. At ten he started fresh on guitar, and was soon writing songs, forming bands, and playing his first jazz gigs. Grad moved to New York in 1998 to study jazz guitar at New York University; while completing his degree, he performed with his own groups at The Knitting Factory and Cornelia St. Cafe, founded a concert series at Judson Memorial Church, and worked for Tim Berne’s Screwgun Records. Since 2001, Grad has composed nearly fifty works for concert instruments and voices. His prizes include an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award for the Concertino for Clarinet (2005) and an ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award for Confused Blues (2007). Grad received his master’s degree in Composition in 2008 from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Christopher Theofanidis. Recent projects include the world premiere performances of The Father Book and arrangements commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra. Upcoming works include Old-Fashioned Love Songs for countertenor and electric theorbo (an instrument Grad is designing and building himself) and a fable for voice and chamber ensemble commissioned by 4Culture and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. Besides composing concert music, Grad continues to lead bands and write songs. He is also the program annotator for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and New World Symphony. Grad lives in Seattle with his wife, Jen, and their cat, Codetta.To learn more about Aaron Grad, please visit www.aarongrad.com.