Press and Testimonials

Mark N Grant composer tools

“Music of soul-searching profundity...” Fanfare

“hot-blooded” American Record Guide

“truly amazing, sometimes exquisite lyrical moments that contrast beautifully with passages of unbearable emotional intensity.”
New Music Connoisseur

“Not only is the actual music of The Rose of Tralee glorious and profoundly moving, this appreciative listener marveled at Mr. Grant’s sense of drama and timing, and at his brilliant ear for orchestration. – Harris Goldsmith, critic, The Strad, High Fidelity, Musical America

“His music combines a thorough knowledge of the most complex creative techniques of the
twentieth century, and, at the same time, manages to infuse those methods with a lyricism rarely
found among his like-minded colleagues” – Joan Peyser, past editor The Musical Quarterly

“Integrating so many varying weights, colors, tempi, moods, texts (secular vs sacred), all so
gracefully is a real achievement. But none of this would matter if the music to The Rose of Tralee
wasn’t so moving.” – William Mayer, composer

“In the ten years that I was the artistic and general director of New York City’s Center for
Contemporary Opera, I must have reviewed over 1000 opera scores. Every now and then, I would
come across a score that I felt was exceptional and this was the case with Mark N. Grant’s The
Human Zoo. The Human Zoo is the rare modern comic opera. It is noteworthy not only for its
comedic nature but also for how well it develops the various characters on display at the “zoo”.
Here, Grant’s skill as a distinguished author is more than evident and he is an exceptional
composer that can also write a first-rate libretto. Grant has his own voice. When CCO performed
scenes of this work, I sat in the back of the theater and watched the audiences’ faces and
reactions to the work. Without exception, they were completely engaged. I cannot recommend
The Human Zoo highly enough. – Jim Schaeffer

“In a sleeve note about Max Reger, the musicologist Wolfgang Rathert speaks of Reger’s falling
“between the twin stools of modernism and conservatism.” You would think this referred to
today’s situation rather than that over a century ago. But if this was a problem then, think how
much more so it is nowadays, as it faces an enterprising composer such as Mark N. Grant.

“More than ever perhaps you can be a traditionalist and be condemned as old hat, or an innovator
and sneered at as an arriviste and opportunist. Consider only what has been happening to twelve-
tone music: one moment it was in, next moment out, then both in and out, and so on. It’s worse
than lapels on men’s clothing (narrow or wide?) or skirts on women’s (shorter or longer?). And
this is what moves me about Grant’s music: it heroically tries to reconcile the two modes, as if a
lapel could be both narrow and wide and a skirt both short and long.

“Being conservative myself, I part company with the later Schoenberg and the very late
Stravinsky. Thus I find Grant’s quandary as reflected in his music immensely touching. Here is a
gifted composer on the horns of a dilemma, valiantly struggling not to fall too far back or leap
forward too recklessly. If you listen to his music as attentively as it deserves, you will find that
his solution is to settle as comfortably as possible into a position at the crossroads and look as
circumspectly as can be in both directions.

“Of course, total simultaneity is impossible, but if cars can be hybrids, so can compositions.
Flexibility is a form of fusion. The healthy mind can recall as profitably as it can foresee. I can
find in Grant’s music a happy marriage of recollection and prescience, and an invitation to the
listener to be as long-memoried as visionary.

“If music were food– which to the soul it is– Grant’s gives you a choice of a dependably
traditional menu as well as an à la carte rich in surprises. One or another aspect will
preponderate, and if that predicates widening taste from the listener, so much the better.
According to your mood, you will on certain days prefer one mode; on other days, the other. But
there will be something there for you on all days.”

John Simon, drama, film, and music critic