It is human emotion that animates works of art.
— Theodor Adorno (1928)

Aaron Grant's Biography

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Music Theory and a Sproull Fellow. My primary research agenda focuses on music of the long nineteenth century from Franz Schubert through early Stravinsky

My dissertation engages issues of form, narrative, and meaning in Schubert’s three-key expositions. In it, I rethink received views on this genre, arguing for a three-part division of the exposition—the three-key exposition representing a third, principally 19th-century expositional structure along with continuous and two-part expositions. My dissertation then offers insight into the form-functional and narrative implications of that new understanding. In it, I incorporates sketch studies into my analyses, recently traveling to Europe to examine manuscripts for Schubert’s instrumental works through a grant awarded by the Presser Foundation. This work has already been presented at regional and national conferences, winning the Dorothy Payne Award for best student paper from the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic in 2015.

Prior to my studies at Eastman, I graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.M. in flute performance and an M.A. in music theory. My Master’s thesis examined Igor Stravinsky’s compositional process in the opera The Nightingale, for which I traveled to the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, Switzerland to examine the composer’s sketch materials. My work on Stravinsky has continued into my doctorate, where I have begun investigating Stravinsky's polyscalarity. This work also received a graduate student paper award in 2014.

My work has been presented at multiple regional, national, and international conferences including the the Music Theory Society of New York State (2013), the New England Conference of Music Theorists (2014), the 18th Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music (2014), the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic (2014), the Society for Music Theory’s national Meeting (2015), and the inaugural conference of the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, "Pedagogy into Practice: Teaching Music Theory in the Twenty-First Century" (2017). 

In addition to my work on Stravinsky and Schubert, my current research interests include the analysis of 19th-century music more generally, music theory pedagogy, American musical theater, sketch studies, theories of musical narrative, and scale theories. I am also a committed pedagogue, having won the Eastman School of Music Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching during the 2015–16 year. 

Outside of music theory, I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, playing chess, cooking, candy making, and attempting to perfect the chocolate-chip cookie.