My music reflects the strange brew of musical cultures that made up my childhood, where an omnivorous hunger for music-making led me to playing bluegrass in the hills of Appalachia, sprinting the marathon of blinding-fast pentecostal shout music, struggling to both perform and pronounce Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, learning the varied languages of jazz, and – naturally – joining and quitting a number of failed garage bands. One can trace a thread from each of these moments to the music I write today: the fiddle-like sound of the open strings, the relentless, breathless quality found in my quick-tempoed chamber music, often accompanied by the rhythm and feel of jazz, funk and rock. Despite their almost haphazard variety, these experiences shared the common quality of togetherness, of music played socially and collaboratively. This attitude of “playing well with others” continues to be a primary source of inspiration and invention, as expressed most practically in collaborative partnerships with performers.
I draw influence from a wide-variety of non-musical influences as well, including poetry, abstractexpressionism, popular films and television, long-form improvisational comedy, and even sports (I’m an avid follower of baseball and college football). More broadly, there is larger concern within my music: that of being located within a time, a culture, a city, or a space. We tend to speak of music as timeless or transcendent, but I find myself unable approach my own work as if it exists outside of the time and place in which it was created.
Having been born in an age of unprecedented access to information, my music can’t help but be tinged by this era’s pervasive presence. Thus, I’ve chosen to embrace the modernity’s aesthetic panoply by embracing the sounds and methods of mass culture, allowing my own work to develop
Though a native of the Florida panhandle, I’m currently found in the colder climes of the upper Midwest, living in the South Side of Chicago with my wife and our dog (the primary subject of my Instagram account)
If you’d like a bit more up-to-date information on everyday goings-on of my life, feel free to follow me on Twitter: Follow @piercegradone
For a less stream-of-consciousness approach, check out my somewhat-regularly-updated Blog, which is usually a weird mix of YouTube videos and premiere announcements.
Finally, if you want my official biography, click here.