Raised in the Bronx, Grill has been obsessed with music since the age of six, when his mother took him to Carnegie Hall and he was astonished and awestruck by a performance of “La Mer.” While that obsession first took the form of playing piano at every possible moment (when not otherwise engaged in activities typical of a kid growing up in the Bronx of the 1950’s and ‘60s), it was Stan’s music theory studies at the Manhattan School of Music that converted that obsession to writing music – and to finding his own musical voice.
He learned the craft from extraordinary musicians: among others – Robert Helps, Leon Kushner, Ursula Mamlok and Joseph Prostakoff. Stan’s passion for medieval and Renaissance music has greatly influenced his writing – a contemporary expression of ageless techniques based on melody, modal harmonies, and contrapuntal, extended, interweaving lines. Two main themes permeate many of his works – music composed in an attempt to translate something about the nature of the physical world, and music composed to inspire and promote world peace.
Stan’s music has been performed the world over – from Ecuador to Poland; Toulouse to Tokyo; Brooklyn to Vienna – by such artists as Camerata Philadelphia, Camerata Arkos, Englewinds, the Pandolfis Consort, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, One World Symphony, violists Brett Deubner and Ralph Farris, and violinist Jorge Avila.
Other recordings of Stan’s music, also available on Innova Recordings: At the Center of All Things, with string quartets performed by the Diderot String Quartet; Rustling Flights of Wings, with songs performed by soprano Nancy Allen Lundy, pianist Stephen Gosling and violinist Ralph Farris; Afterwards…, with string quartets performed by Camerata Philadelphia; and “I paint stars with wings” with Camerata Philadelphia, Stephen Framil, Brett Douglas Deubner and Peggy (Pei-ju) Yu.
“As I see it, as much as we strive to find reason and purpose in our having been born into this amazing, mysterious and awe-inspiring universe, that attempt is largely futile. It is however, the best part of our nature that obliges us to make the attempt, though the most we can hope for is to gain some small degree of understanding of the world around us, and, more importantly, of ourselves. To achieve this, we each approach the problem in our own way, uniquely shaped by our cultural background, innate talents and abilities, education and so on. For some, science may be the window through which they best perceive and interpret the world, for others, religion. For those to whom the world seems to express itself most clearly and beautifully through sound, music is the voice that speaks to us and through which we, in turn, most effectively express ourselves. The best of my music has arrived, rather inexplicably, as part of a personal effort to understand the world and myself. It is, in a way, an act of translation. The world says something, I try to understand it, and then translate it into musical language. The particular musical language which I speak, is, of course, a product of my conservatory training and personal musical tastes, but hopefully, the outcome, imperfect a translation as it may be, will convey to others something of its original intent.” — Stanley Grill