Alumnus inspires generations of musicians, moviegoers and television watchers through the art of music
Jerry Grant ’58 graduated from Wayne State with a B.S. in Music Education. He attended the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts for graduate studies in composition, and, received a master’s degree in composition at California State University, Northridge.
He taught composing and conducting for film at the University of California, Los Angeles for 12 years, as well as orchestration and composition at the Dick Grove School of Music. Grant was also a visiting professor in music composition at California State University, Chico. Additionally, he taught the Young Composers Program for Music in the Mountains and headed the instrumental music program at Hollywood High School.
“It took me quite a while to realize that I needed to look at my music as a business,” said Grant. Musically, I was very cerebral in college and it wasn’t until I began connecting with my emotional self and creating my music from the gut that I began to have some commercial success in the business.”
Grant has scored for 500 episodes of series television productions including The A Team, Magnum P.I., Hunter and a popular children’s TV series The Secret World of Alex Mack. Working independently since 1989, Grant has composed scores for six feature films, many A&E and Discovery Channel documentaries, and numerous animation series.
“Jerry is the quintessential Wayne State music alumnus: intelligent, resourceful and talented,” said Dr. Norah Duncan, IV, chair of the Department of Music. “Before I met him in Old Main, I was unaware of his expansive success as a composer of film scores.”
As a jazz musician, Grant formed the West Coast Nujazz Alternative – a symphonic jazz/ rock orchestra – which has released several recordings. Presently, all of Grant’s music for saxophone, tuba and brass instruments is being newly published by Potenza Music Publishing.
“I feel very lucky to have been able to balance my career with producing music and teaching to give it back to others.”
In 2013, the department selected Grant to receive the College’s Arts Achievement Award in Music. The award recognizes alumni for achievements in their respective fields and advocacy for, the arts and communication and for achievements in their respective fields.
“Like so many of the college’s alumni, Grant has pursued his passion for music,” said Duncan. “He is inspiring future generations as a music teacher, and moving an unimaginable number of moviegoers and television watchers with human anguish and joy, which can only be conveyed through the art of music.”