Biography

Max Grafe (b. 1988) writes music with the aim of striking a distinctive balance between the stylistic immediacy of modernism and the dramatic power of romanticism. Max’s music has been performed by a wide range of prominent and emerging ensembles—including the New York Philharmonic, Contemporaneous, Yarn/Wire, Quince Ensemble, New Thread Quartet, and Flux Quartet—and has been featured at numerous music festivals across the country, including the Tanglewood Music Center, the Resonant Bodies Festival, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Upcoming projects include collaborations with Hypercube, hornist Steven Cohen, Duo Entre-Nous, and ensembleNEWSRQ. Max is a founding member of New York-based composer collective Iceberg New Music, which is preparing to launch its fourth season in collaboration with Hypercube and Unheard-of Ensemble. Max’s music appears on commercial recordings by the New York Philharmonic, Quince Ensemble, pianist Mika Sasaki, and harpist Emily Levin, and will be featured on multiple upcoming commercial releases, including an album by pianist Jenny Lin of etudes written for her by Iceberg composers.

Max has received several of the most prestigious awards available to emerging American composers, including a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a William Schuman Prize from BMI, two consecutive Palmer Dixon Prizes from the Juilliard School, and a Morton Gould Young Composer Award from ASCAP. He also once narrowly edged out Dmitri Shostakovich in a Facebook opinion poll of favorite composers, of which he is prouder than he probably should be.

Max is a member of the music faculties at Hofstra University and the Kaufman Music Center. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School in 2018, a Master of Music degree from Juilliard in 2013 and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in 2011. Further studies have taken place at Mannes College of Music, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Tanglewood Music Center.

CV

Selected Performances

Trio Sonata premiered by Ginevra Petrucci, Chelsea Wimmer, and Gleb Kanasevich, Greenwich House, New York, NY, May 26, 2019

 

Lalia premiered by Ekmeles, DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York, NY, March 9, 2019

Accretion premiered by Jenny Lin, (le) poisson rouge, New York, NY, January 17, 2019

Taches lumineuses - un amas d’étoiles dans une constellation performed by Kelley Barnett, First Presbyterian Church, Billings, MT, December 27, 2018

Ephemeroptera Studies: Book I premiered at Concept Lab Volume V, Cornelia Street Cafe, New York, NY, December 16, 2018

Taches lumineuses - un amas d’étoiles dans une constellation performed by Kelley Barnett, MISE-EN_PLACE, New York, NY, December 14, 2018

Taches lumineuses - un amas d’étoiles dans une constellation performed by Jenny Davis, Crosstown Concourse, Memphis, TN, August 18, 2018

 

Quintet premiered at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, NM, August 15, 2018

Pour les Agréments premiered by Yarn/Wire at Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, NY,

April 20, 2018

Taches lumineuses - un amas d’étoiles dans une constellation premiered by Kelley Barnett, MISE-EN_PLACE, New York, NY, January 15, 2018

Idumea (Shape Note Paraphrases I) premiered by the New York Virtuoso Singers, Saint Ignatius of Antioch Church, New York, NY, October 29, 2017

 

Obsidian Liturgy performed by Mika Sasaki, Marian Anderson Recital Hall at Danbury Music Centre, August 12, 2017

Fire Chorus premiered by fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, Seiji Ozawa Hall, Lenox, MA, July 2, 2017

An effulgence fills the southern boughs performed by Blueshift Ensemble, Crosstown Concourse, Memphis, TN, June 15, 2017

 

To mend, once riven and Psalmodia performed by Hyunjung Kim, Bayla Keyes, and Victor Cayres, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, June 5, 2017

Karst premiered by New Thread Quartet, DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York, NY, April 20, 2017

An effulgence fills the southern boughs premiered by Contemporaneous, DiMenna Center for Classical Music, April 6, 2017

The Palace of the Windowed Rocks (Tanguy Responses I) performed by the New Fromm Players, Seiji Ozawa Hall, Lenox, MA, August 14, 2016

To mend, once riven premiered by Julia Glenn and Joseph Yungen, The Juilliard School, New York, NY, May 2016

Jangle performed by Dannielle McBryan, Colin Davin, and Emily Levin, Saint Peter’s Church, New York, NY, March 15, 2016

Obsidian Liturgy premiered by Mika Sasaki, Paul Recital Hall, The Juilliard School, New York, NY, February 11, 2016

Jangle premiered by Lauren Williams, Colin Davin, and Emily Levin, Morse Recital Hall, The Juilliard School, New York, NY, February 10, 2016

Kheir - Fantasy for Clarinet and Sinfonietta performed by Shih-yen Chen and the University of Texas at Austin New Music Ensemble under Dan Welcher, Bates Recital Hall, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, September 30, 2015

Excerpts from mars one for voice and guitar with text by William Emery premiered by Amanda DeBoer Bartlett and Jesse Langen at the 2015 Resonant Bodies Festival, New York, NY, September 10, 2015

The Palace of the Windowed Rocks (Tanguy Responses I) premiered by FLUX Quartet, Saint Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, August 7, 2015

Kheir - Fantasy for Clarinet and Sinfonietta premiered by Miao Zhao and the New Juilliard Ensemble under Joel Sachs, Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY, April 10, 2015

Seaven Teares with choreography by Silas Farley premiered at the School of American Ballet as part of the New York City Ballet’s 2015 Choreographic Institute, New York, NY, March 13, 2015

Bismuth - Variations for Orchestra premiered by the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, Avery Fisher Hall, New York, NY, June 7, 2014 (selected for performance through the American Composers Orchestra’s EarShot network)

Three Madrigals performed by Quince Ensemble, HERE Arts Center, New York, NY,

March 7 & 8, 2014

Janus Ponders the Cosmos performed by bassoonist Sasha Gee Enegren and students from Manhattan School of Music, New York, NY, January 2013

Janus Ponders the Cosmos premiered by bassoonist Elizabeth Garrett and students from Yale School of Music, New Haven, CT, November 11, 2013

Moon Cycles performed by newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Kansas City, MO, September 20, 2013

Three Madrigals performed by Quince Ensemble, Chicago, IL, August 18, 2013

Three Madrigals premiered by Quince Ensemble, Bowling Green, OH and midwest tour,

October 2012

Moon Cycles premiered by the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble at Highpoint Composition Seminar, Woodstock, NY, May 2010

Commercial Recordings

Something Borrowed - Emily Levin, Iris Records, 2017; The Magic-Bean-Buyer

 

Obsidian: Mika Sasaki plays Clara Schumann, Yarlung Records, 2016; Obsidian Liturgy

Selections from NYPHIL BIENNIAL 2014, New York Philharmonic, 2015; Bismuth - Variations for Orchestra

Realign the Time, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, 2014; Three Madrigals

Awards, Honors, and Scholarships

With winning work where applicable

American Modern Ensemble Composition Competition, Tier III, honorable mention, 2015; Kheir - Fantasy for Clarinet and Sinfonietta

William Schuman Prize, BMI Student Composer Awards, 2015; Kheir - Fantasy for Clarinet and Sinfonietta

Palmer Dixon Prize, The Juilliard School, 2015; Kheir - Fantasy for Clarinet and Sinfonietta

Charles Ives Scholarship, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2015

New York Philharmonic EarShot New Music Readings, June 2014; Bismuth - Variations for Orchestra selected for premiere performance

Palmer Dixon Prize, The Juilliard School, 2014; Janus Ponders the Cosmos

Jacobs School of Music Dean’s Prize in composition, 2011; Moon Cycles

Fellow, Highpoint Composition Seminar, Woodstock, NY, May 2010

ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, 2007

 

Teaching

Adjunct Associate Professor, Hofstra University, music department, 2019-

 

Faculty, Special Music School and Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Music Center, music theory and composition department, 2015-

Faculty, The Juilliard School, pre-college division, music theory department, 2016-2017

Teaching Fellow, The Juilliard School, music theory and analysis department, 2011-2016


Education

The Juilliard School: Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition, 2018
Studies with Christopher Rouse and Steven Stucky


Tanglewood Music Center, Summer 2016

Elliott Carter Memorial Composer Fellowship
Studies with Michael Gandolfi, Marc Neikrug, and Osvaldo Golijov

The Juilliard School: Master of Music in Composition, 2013
Studies with Christopher Rouse

Aspen Music Festival and School, Individual Studies Program, Summer 2012

Susan and Ford Schumann Fellowship in Composition Studies
Studies with George Tsontakis

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music: Bachelor of Music in Composition, 2011
Studies with Don Freund, Michael Gandolfi, W. Claude Baker, David Dzubay, and Aaron Travers

Freie Universität Berlin Summer Composition Course, Berlin, Germany, Summer 2010
Studies with Samuel Adler

Mannes College of Music Preparatory Division: Honors Diploma in Composition and Bassoon, 2007
Studies with Keith Fitch

  • facebook
  • twitter

©2018 MAX GRAFE