Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Dr. Victor Grauer, based in Pittsburgh, PA, is a composer, musicologist, film‑maker, media artist, poet and dramatist. He holds a Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University, with additional studies in that field at UCLA, and a Ph. D. in Music Composition from SUNY Buffalo, where he studied with Leo Smit, Henri Pousseur and Lejarin Hiller. Other composition teachers include Darius Milhaud, at the Aspen School, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, at the Cologne Course for New Music.
Grauer's creative work has been presented in many venues worldwide, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Institute (Pittsburgh), The Kitchen (New York), The Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh), the Albright Knox Museum (Buffalo), the Whitney Museum "American Century" retrospective, etc. His writings on musicology and the arts have been published in journals such as Ethnomusicology, Semiotica, Art Criticism, Music Theory Online, Other Voices, Millennium Film Journal, The World of Music and Before Farming. In 1998 he received the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Creative Achievement Award. Grauer has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, the Pittsburgh High School of the Creative and Performing Arts and Chatham College. He may be contacted via email at: victorag(at)verizon.net.
Complete recordings of Grauer's music can be found online at his website, The Music of Victor Grauer (mostly electronic and computer generated works) and at Soundcloud (instrumental works).
Some Program Notes
My cantata, "The Human Abstract," is based on two poems from William Blake's "Poems of Innocence" and "Poems of Experience." It was orginally written as part of an ambitious project, in the form of a three act play-with-music, plus related website, based on certain works of Bertolt Brecht, and titled "I Bertolt Brecht."
In Act I, Scene 2 of my play "Two street musicians, wearing shades, each on opposite sides of the stage, one with a bass, the other a guitar, toss a simple phrase back and forth, jamming together throughout the first part of the scene." These musicians reappear in Act Three, during a mass protest on Times Square, interrupted by
A street preacher [who] arrives with a boom box, and stations himself on the courthouse steps. He turns on his boom box, which plays a simple chordal accompaniment on guitar and bass as he sings "The Divine Image," from Wm. Blake's "Songs of Innocence". All fall silent as he sings. As the text is sung, it is displayed, line by line, on the electronic display of the Times Building.
As he completes his song, the two street musicians "wake up" to play a reprise of their number from Act I, Scene 2. Conducted vigorously by Marlene [one of Brecht's supporters], her radical band of picketers defiantly sing along, to the text of "The Human Abstract," from Blake's "Songs of Experience." This too is displayed, line by line, on the Times building.
Both the preacher's song and the remainder of the "cantata" are based on the chord progression underlying the street musician's jam.
The political underpinnings of Blake's texts, and their relation to the work and thought of Brecht, are discussed here.