Main content start

Pheaross Graham

Degrees / Education
Ph.D. in Musicology, UCLA
C. Phil. in Musicology, UCLA
M.A. in Musicology, UCLA
M.F.A. in Music: Piano Performance, UC Irvine
B.A. in Music, UC Berkeley
B.S. in Microbial Biology, UC Berkeley

Dr. Pheaross Graham is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities and Lecturer in the Department of Music at Stanford University.

As a musicologist and classical pianist, Dr. Graham examines the intersections of theory, practice, and lived experiences of concert performers. His Ph.D., C.Phil., and M.A. in musicology from UCLA, M.F.A. in piano performance from UC Irvine, and B.A. in music and B.S. in microbial biology from UC Berkeley have cultivated interdisciplinary and intertextual leanings in his research. He reads recorded performances as texts, demystifying musicians’ inner worlds. Dr. Graham asks how certain performers, pushed in plain sight to the margins on account of race, class, and identity, carve space for themselves in complicated musical networks. His forthcoming publications include essays on reconstructing Rachmaninoff’s subjectivity (Routledge) and Liberace’s democratic virtuosity (Univ. Illinois Press). He has presented work at the Annual American Musicological Society, Music and the Moving Image, and Music Performance Studies Today, and other conferences. He enjoys initiating and organizing wide-reaching public conversations on performance.

Dr. Graham’s immediate book project focuses on African American pianist Don Shirley and his musical activity during the Civil Rights Movement. He profiles Shirley’s genre-blending, “Green Book Style” pianism, which aimed to stimulate “serious,” idealized, and engaged listening among audiences to approach the category of classical music, navigating through the problematics of racialized entertainment in the U.S. and concert hall anti-Blackness. His other projects contemplate immigrant experiences, self-erasure, and exile. Accordingly, Dr. Graham theorizes the American transplanted, Russian aristocratic pianism of Sergei Rachmaninoff, engaging micro-listening and concert emulation. Rachmaninoff’s inter- and post-Revolutionary negotiations of respectability amid dualities of idealist and public identities factor into his inquiries.