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

Aaron Grant's Biography

I am a music theorist and Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Missouri Western State University. I earned my Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music (2018) and an M.A. in music theory (2011) & B.M. in flute performance (2011) from The Pennsylvania State University. 

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 problematize received views on this formal type, 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. 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.

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. I have continued my work on Stravinsky to this day with research on Stravinsky's polyscalarity. This work also received a graduate student paper award in 2014.

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, 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. 

My work is forthcoming in Engaging Students, Vol. 7 and Nineteenth-Century Music Review and has been presented at national, regional, 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 (2015/2018), and the conference "Pedagogy into Practice: Teaching Music Theory in the Twenty-First Century" (2017/2019). 

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