Professor of Composition and Theory
Sara Carina Graef has been on the Faculty of the Department of Music at California State University, Los Angeles, since the fall of 2000. She is currently Associate Professor of Music, and serves as the President of Friends of Music – a group that raises scholarship money for music majors at Cal State L.A. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in composition at the University of Southern California, where she was also a lecturer in theory and aural skills, and she holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition and flute performance from Southern Methodist University.
Active as a composer, Dr. Graef has been awarded the Northridge Composition Prize for her orchestral score, night shows to my eyes the stars and the Premio Citta’ di Pescara Composition Competition in Italy for her piano solo, Nottanosti. She has held artist residencies at the Ucross Foundation, the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival Contemporary Music Seminar, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Ernest Bloch Music Festival Composers’ Symposium, the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium, the Czech-American Summer Music Institute in Prague, the A.S.K Theater Projects/Nautilus Music-Theater Playwright-Composer Studio, and has been an invited guest artist at Lincoln Center’s “Directors’ Lab West” at the historic Pasadena Playhouse. She has also worked on various film, television, and theatrical projects, including music directing and creating music for the interdisciplinary project How ‘Bout Now? at Cal State L.A. in the spring of 2008. Her music has been performed in Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, California, Tennessee, Florida, Nevada, Texas, Colorado, California, and Prague.
In addition to composing and teaching, Dr. Graef serves as the Stranding Coordinator for the Alaska Whale Foundation on the R/V Evolution in Southeast Alaska, where she has worked each summer since 2002. This work serves as her inspiration for the opera on which she is currently collaborating with playwright José Cruz González, for which she was awarded a university sabbatical in Winter, 2009.
Other upcoming projects include a recording and concert performance by the United State Air Force Band of Liberty, under the baton of Captain David Alpar, of her U.S. Patent No. 821,393. FLYING MACHINE. O. & W. Wright, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of flight, and was commissioned by Dr. Thomas Verrier for the Vanderbilt University Wind Ensemble in 2003. Other recent projects include Building 58 for player piano - part of the Player Piano Project composers’ collaboration and recording in February 2008, and Softly Dancing from the Polar Sky for symphonic wind ensemble, which was premiered by the Cal State L.A. Wind Ensemble at the College Band Directors National Association conference in Reno, Nevada and more recently performed by the Eastern Washington University Wind Ensemble.