Grabner was born in Graz. He studied law at the University of Graz graduating in 1909. In parallel he studied music with Leopold Suchsland until 1910. He also played the viola for a while in the Grazer Theatherorchester. He then studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Max Reger and Hans Sitt. In 1912 he worked as assistant to Reger in the Meininger Theater. In 1913 he became teacher of music theory at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg. He served in the Austrian Army during World War I. From 1919 to 1924 he was teacher of theory and composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim. He also taught at the Music Academy in Heidelberg. He was then teacher of composition at the Leipzig Conservatory, where his students included Hugo Distler, Artur Immisch, Hilding Hallnäs and Miklós Rózsa. From 1930 he was music director of the University. From 1938 to 1946 he taught at the Berlin Musikhochschule. He was retired in June 1946 due to his SA membership and the nazi-composition "Fackelträger", Lieder des neuen Reiches.
He composed one opera, Die Richterin with libretto by Beyerlein after C. F. Meyer, premiered in the Barmen State Theater in 1930; orchestral works, chamber music, choral works, Lieder, two motets and numerous organ pieces.
He died in Bolzano.
- Hermann Grabner Estate at Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum
- "Fackelträger", Lieder des neuen Reiches, für Männerchor komponiert nach Gedichten von Heinrich Anacker, Kistner & Siegel, Leipzig 1934
- "Operone:Hermann Grabner" (in German). Retrieved 2008-09-03.
- Deutsches Bühnen-jahrbuch: Theatergeschichtliches Jahr- und Adressenbuch at Google Books (in German), Volume 42 (1931). Published by F.A.Günther & sohn a.-g. Page 65
- Translated from the German Wikipedia article