Composition Department

Max Grafe, BM 2011 

Max Grafe is entering his senior year at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Composition with a concentration in Bassoon Performance. He has also taken classes in the preparatory division of Mannes College of Music and graduated with honors in composition and bassoon. Max has been the recipient of several awards for student composers, including the 2005 New York State Band Directors Association composition competition, the 2006 Indiana University Composition Competition for High School Students, and a 2007 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. His instructors at Jacobs have included Don Freund, Michael Gandolfi, W. Claude Baker, David Dzubay, Aaron Travers and David Ward-Steinman. Max lives in Wallkill, New York.

Light Show
1111, 1110, pno, 2 perc, 11111

Performers from Jacobs School of Music
Performed on April 1, 2010

I. Blinding
II. Prismatic
III. Flashing
IV. Soft


Light Show, a short concerto for piano and chamber orchestra, was initially intended as a representation of multiple forms of visible light. The music also moves through several tributes (veiled or otherwise) to significant musical influences from Gershwin to Ligeti. Throughout the piece, the nature of humans' perception of light as something with widely varying characteristics built on common fundamentals is reflected in the music; strikingly disparate musical characters are constructed from essentially the same gestural raw materials.

Moon Cycles
cl/bcl, asax/bsax, vln, vc, pno, perc

East Coast Contemporary Ensemble w/ Garry Kvistad
Performed on May 26, 2010

I. Prelude
II. Harlequin
III. Punch
IV. Scaramouche
V. Pierrot
VI. Postlude


Moon Cycles was inspired in equal measure by the tradition of the Italian Commedia dell'Arte and 1950s American beat culture. The piece is a series of miniature character portraits of four of the clowns from the Commedia as they relax in a 50s nightclub after a long day of performances. Harlequin, Punch, Scaramouche and Pierrot all make appearances in the solo instruments, while the rhythm section of percussion and piano provides structural underpinning throughout the piece. The four principal gestures introduced in the Prelude each fulfill two roles throughout the piece, used once melodically and once structurally within the four inner movements. The Postlude offers a reflection on the night’s events, with a sleepy, sustained version of the motivic material in the Prelude.