A Look at the Life and Career of Composer Percy Grainger

Australian-born composer and pianist Percy Grainger was instrumental in the resurgence of folk music in the early 1900s. He spent a significant portion of his life in White Plains, where his former home at 7 Cromwell Place is the headquarters of the International Percy Grainger Society (IPGS). The group, which is dedicated to keeping the musician’s legacy alive, operates with a robust offering of programs. This month, three programs examine various aspects of Grainger’s life and career.

On May 2, a “piano mini-festival” at White Plains Public Library will screen rare archival footage of Grainger playing the piano. A live performance of Grainger’s piano works by pianists from the Juilliard School will follow, along with a discussion of Grainger’s music.

The landmark house on Cromwell Place, which also served as Grainger’s practice studio, today is home to lectures and events. On May 6, American composer and musicologist Dana Paul Perna will take a look at the relationship between Grainger and his composer colleagues. Perna will explore the give-and-take of these collegial relationships in Grainger’s career. On May 13, Barry Peter Ould, Founder of The Percy Grainger Society (UK), will explore the mutual admiration between Grainger and his mentor Edvard Grieg with a lecture titled “Grainger, Grieg and Folksong.” For more info, visit percygraingeramerica.org.

A version of this article first appeared in the May issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.

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