Meet the Composer
Douglas Knehans, 2014
I just want to write music that touches people, that is immediate, that is powerful, colorful and dramatic. You can get to know the type of music I write by taking a little time to listen to some of the excerpts and pieces on this website. If you like it, I hope to hear from you!
Winner of prizes, awards and recognitions for his compositions and recordings, Douglas Knehans’ (b.1957) work has been awarded by The American Prize; The Kennedy Center; Clouzine International Music Awards; Independent Music Awards; Global Music Awards Gold Medalist; The Australia Council for the Arts; The Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts; Meet the Composer; New Music USA; The American Music Center; Carnegie Hall and many others. His compositions feature at concert halls globally including Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in NYC and equally well regarded venues in Europe, Asia and Australia.
Nature and natural forms inspire his music. Using the natural world as externalized metaphors of richly human internal, emotional worlds, Knehans draws on these two types of environment—internal and external—to create music of rich power, formal clarity, communicative force, expressiveness, meaning and drama; critics see it that way too when they say his music “…is radiant and multicolored. This is music of tremendous imagination. Knehans scores with a masterly hand, his sound paintbrush unerringly hitting the mark.” (Fanfare Magazine)
His compositional voice is influenced by his Australian-American training which was focused primarily on European music in his early years at the prestigious Australian National University (ANU), and then American music during his studies at Queens College with Thea Musgrave—again equally underscoring the European roots of his voice—and then at Yale with Pulitzer prize winning composer Jacob Druckman and creative polymath Lukas Foss.
After ANU, Queens and Yale, Knehans was department chair of composition at the University of Alabama; was Director and Head of School at the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music in Australia and then was appointed the Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He is currently the Norman Dinerstein Professor of Composition Scholar at CCM. His music is published by Alexander Street Press, and recordings are available on the Crystal, Move, CRI and Ablaze Records labels.
He currently lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and two children and their small dog Honey. He is a political junky interested in cooking, wine, natural and organic food, and is a vegan and committed animal rights advocate who enjoys travel, art, poetry, architecture and music.