A native of Toledo, Gramm Drennen is a Boston-based cellist and educator dedicated to performing the tunes of today, music of the moment, and pieces of the present.
A performer passionate about contemporary music, Gramm Drennen has worked closely with artists including Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), JACK Quartet, and Tony Arnold. Gramm has also worked directly with composers including Samuel Adler, Ted Hearne, George Lewis, Wadada Leo Smith, Pamela Z, Michael Gordon, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Caroline Shaw. Gramm has been a performer with ensembles such as the Vive! Ensemble, with whom he gave the Midwest premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s chamber opera Émilie. Gramm has also appeared as guest cellist of Semiosis Quartet, a Boston-based string quartet dedicated to performing new music.
Gramm has performed at numerous new music festivals, conferences, and forums. These include New Music on the Point, New Music Gathering, the Bowling Green New Music Festival, and most recently the Nief Norf summer festival. Gramm has premiered dozens of pieces by eminent and emerging composers, and has commissioned multiple works featuring the cello.
An active performer of more traditional repertoire, Gramm has previously served as Assistant Principal Cellist of the Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra as well as the Du Bois Orchestra at Harvard. Gramm has also performed with the Boston Civic Symphony and Adrian (MI) Symphony Orchestras. Outside of performance, Gramm currently serves the string-playing community of greater Boston as part of the staff at Johnson String Instrument.
Passionate about education as well, Gramm maintains a private cello studio in the greater Boston area, and has previously taught private lessons to beginning and intermediate string students from the Toledo Public Schools area. With these students, Gramm taught string technique, introductory piano and composition, and coached chamber groups. Gramm was also a mentor for the Detroit Civic Youth Ensembles and El Sistema Side-by-side string orchestra at Longy School of music, where he led sectionals and assisted the directors, as well as being a resource for the cello sections. Gramm has also served as a volunteer teaching assistant at Bridge Boston Charter schools and the Rindge Avenue Upper School.
Gramm received a B.M. from Bowling Green State University, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree from Boston Conservatory in Contemporary Classical Performance. Gramm has attended numerous summer festivals, including Bang on a Can, Nief Norf, New Music on the Point, Domaine Forget, and the Aboyne Cello Week. Gramm has performed in masterclasses for Johannes Moser, Philippe Muller, Astrid Schween, Claire Bryant, Phil Higham, Alice Neary, and Deborah Pae. Gramm’s primary instructors include Rhonda Rider, Brian Snow, and Alan Smith.
Headshots by Nick Zoulek