…the sounds of nature course through the orchestral pieces…with a primitive force and melodic insistence that recall Stravinsky.
— The New Yorker
 
 

Knehans’ music is about immediacy, drama, power, playfulness, architecture, harmonic structure, melodic expressiveness and more importantly depth and dimension. His music is about both love and life and a number of important critics see it that way too when they say his music “… tells an exciting story, ever- intensifying in color, thematic ideas, texture and tempo.” (The Washington Post); and whose orchestral 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)

For him music is nature and natural forms—endlessly varied but centrally unified. It is relationships with people and memory—the way memory burnishes experiences and encrusts it with a sometimes deeper meaning than the original. People, nature, relationships, visceral tactility, nuance, yearning, heartbreak, tenuousness, drama, power, weakness, enervation, completion, memory and more are the sources for his work. These are the elements that now play into his music—the elements of life. These elements also take on technical and expressive meaning in his music through metaphoric pairings with nature and natural forms.

His voice is influenced by his Australian-American training which was focused primarily on European music in his Australian undergraduate study at the prestigious Australian National University, and then American music in his American study at Queens College with Thea Musgrave—again also underscoring the European roots of his voice— and then at Yale with Pulitzer prize winning composer Jacob Druckman.

 

 

After completing all of his study at ANU, Queens and Yale, Knehans had a professorship 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. He has received recognition, prizes, and awards for his compositions and recordings from The American Prize; The Kennedy Center; Clouzine International Music Awards; Independent Music Awards; Global Music Awards; The Australia Council for the Arts; The Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts; Meet the Composer; New Music USA and many others.

He currently lives and work in Cincinnati Ohio with his wife Josephine and two children Katarina and Joshua as well as the director of their household, their small dog Honey. He is a political junky interested in cooking, wine, natural and organic food, and a vegan and committed animal rights advocate and enjoy travel, art, architecture and music.