Dr. Pheaross Graham is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities and Lecturer in the Department of Music at Stanford University. A scholar-pianist, he earned his Ph.D. in musicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. His research, situated at the intersection of theory and practice, unites artists’ idealist subject positions and intertextuality with close, analytic sonic readings of recorded performances. Some aspects of his work are guided by a spirit of social justice and activism. Dr. Graham has presented his work at the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Music and the Moving Image (NYU), the University of London, and other venues. He was Co-Organizer and a scholar-performer at the Music Performance Studies Today Conference at UCLA. At LA Opera, he was a Teaching Artist; he remains an affiliated scholar. Some of his forthcoming publications will appear in the University of Illinois Press and Routledge.
Simultaneously with academic university teaching and research, Dr. Graham maintains a private piano studio with musicians of various levels and ages. He is especially interested in teaching eager students committed to artistic excellence. He is also interested in working with pianists who, perhaps in chasing perfection or feeling overwhelmed, have found their pianistic selves stifled under glass ceilings. Drawing on his unique expertise as a musicologist vested in critical interpretation studies, Dr. Graham works with pianists to reinvigorate their artistic visions with intelligent listening, keen interpretative planning, and cultivating an appreciation for a diversity of historical musical approaches, including those involving greater subjectivity.
His technical pedagogy is grounded in a biomechanical approach involving coordinated motion conceptualizations. Approaching technical issues as conceptual problems to solve with an engaged mind, he guides pianists to optimize physical ease to promote healthy, sustainable keyboard virtuosity. In working with pianists, Dr. Graham seeks to build pianists up in terms of emotional well-being and nurturing confidence.
Besides his doctorate, his educational background multifariously includes a C.Phil. and M.A. in musicology from UCLA, an M.F.A. in piano performance from UC Irvine, and a B.A. in music and B.S. in microbial biology from UC Berkeley. At UCLA, he undertook three additional years of graduate-level classical piano study beyond his master’s degree while studying musicology. At UCLA, his key musicology mentors have included Raymond Knapp and Mitchell Morris, in addition to Elisabeth Le Guin, William Kinderman, Nina Eidsheim, and Robert Fink. His piano mentors have included Nina Scolnik, Walter Ponce, David Kaplan, Sharon Mann, Jacqueline Chew, Betty Woo, and Ann Schein.
Dr. Graham can take a limited number of students in the San Francisco Bay Area (Stanford, Palo Alto, East Bay, Fremont, Union City) and can teach remotely, as he has done successfully since 2020.