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Percy Grainger Home & Studio: Community Open House

 Percy Grainger Home & Studio: Community Open House 

The Percy Grainger Society welcomes Dr. Paul Cohen, Saxophonist 

The rooms are set. The daffodils are blooming. The Percy Grainger Home & Studio is ready again to guide you along the silent footprints of early 20th-century musical genius, Percy Grainger. The Grainger family lived in this White Plains since 1921, and each left their mark on this marvelous space. 

Every Spring, the Percy Grainger Society invites the local community to visit the Percy Grainger Home and Studio at 7 Cromwell Place. From the music room to the bedrooms and beyond, the house comes alive with how each family member made this space an echo of their individual interests and unique personalities. The House, built in the late 1800s is a beloved White Plains landmark and a graceful reminder of White Plains neighborhoods from days gone by. 

Saxophone Concert on Sunday, April 10 at 2 PM 

This year, we are honored to have Grainger Society member and long-time friend, Dr. Paul Cohen, with the New Hudson Saxophone Quartet and friends, present a saxophone concert at 2 pm. Dr. Cohen is a noted Percy Grainger expert and visited 7 Cromwell Place in the years where Ella Grainger (1889–1979), Percy Grainger’s widow, was still in residence. 

“It is great to be back at the Grainger Home. Little has changed in the house, and I clearly remember Ella Grainger greeting me as I came in the front door,” Dr. Cohen reminisces. “She was gracious and warm and invited me to look around on my own. At her invitation, I toured the house, found fascinating materials in each room, and quickly found the fireproof rooms in the basement where Grainger kept his music.” The visitor book, began by Ella in the 1970s to keep a record of visitors, shows Dr. Cohen signature on October 15, 1977. 

“Grainger’s work has been a mainstay in my music career, and that visit really got it started” noted Dr. Cohen. He has performed, arranged, and written about Grainger’s work since that very first introduction. The Grainger Society blog includes several entries by Dr. Cohen about Grainger’s interest in the saxophone and wind instruments in general. His article entitled Grainger and the Intimate Saxophone is included on the Society’s website and was recently published in an updated and revised version in The Grainger Journal. 

The concert will be broadcast on Facebook Live at 2 pm on Sunday, April 10 from the Grainger Home’s parlor on the Percy Grainger Home & Studio page. 

Guided house tours will be available before and after the concert. While there is no admission for this community event, donations are welcome. Please register at Eventbrite.com to ensure your place on a tour or for the concert. Donations can be made here. 

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Paul Cohen to the Grainger Home and Workspace this year,” stated Dr. Paul Jackson, President of the Percy Grainger Society, and Editor of the The Grainger Journal. “While distance keeps me from attending in person (Dr. Jackson resides in Cambridge, England), I am there in spirit and will enjoy the concert via Facebook live. It is almost like being there, and I am grateful that technology allow the Society to invite members and friends from around the world.” 

Grainger Library of Sampled Sounds (“GLOSS”) Project 

While the Percy Grainger Home and Studio is certainly an important project of the Society, with a membership from all over the world, membership and volunteers have undertaken many other noteworthy projects. In Fall, 2020, the Percy Grainger Society received an IMLS CARES ACT Grant (designed and administered by the Museum Association of New York) to respond to one of the biggest challenges created by the pandemic: how to reach audiences who cannot physically visit. 

The Society began to identify stories from its collection, then set about developing two virtual programs during 2020–22. The first program, the Grainger Library of Sampled Sounds (“GLOSS”) is a collection of recorded sounds from the Percy Grainger Home and Studio. The sounds include samples of instruments in the collection and ambient sounds from the house and neighborhood. Users will be invited to explore and use these music files to create their own musical compositions and soundscapes. 

Lincolnshire Posy Collaboration with American Bandmasters Association 

Another important virtual project currently underway is the celebration of 85th Anniversary of Grainger’s famous composition for wind band, Lincolnshire Posy. This celebration began in Fall, 2021 with a performance by the Westchester Symphonic Winds, Tarrytown, New York of the six movements of Lincolnshire Posy. The anniversary year continued with a virtual presentation by Col. Jason Fettig, 28th Director of the United States Marine Band, on Friday, February 11, 2022. Entitled “A Ramble with Grainger,” Col. Fettig discussed his experience with performing Lincolnshire Posy as well as other Grainger favorites. Performance rehearsals are recorded on YouTube, with the links here. 

Further virtual programs exploring the history, composition, and performance of this composition are underway during 2022 in collaboration with the American Bandmasters Association. We invite you to review the website for further information about each of these projects. www.percygrainger.org 

The Percy Grainger Society was charted by the New York State Board of Regents in 1964. Its mission is to promote the work and legacy of Percy Grainger with a membership community that preserves his historic house, encourages appreciation and performance of his music, and promotes a deeper understanding of the cultural, social, and economic context of his life and work. For over forty years, the Percy Grainger Home and Studio has been a mainstay of the Society’s focus and houses a collection of Grainger’s music, memorabilia, and artifacts. 

About International Percy Grainger Society/Percy Grainger America

Percy Grainger America Inc. is engaged in an ongoing re-creation of the life and times of Australian composer Percy Grainger during his forty years in America (1921 to 1961). To this end Percy Grainger America Inc. has rededicated Grainger’s historic landmark home at 7 Cromwell Place in White Plains, New York as a living time capsule that exhibits how an internationally famous, radically inventive creative artist (and his wife, Ella Viola Strom, also an artist) lived and worked as "different drummers" in twentieth-century America. The Graingers' home, long a destination for a worldwide stream of visiting musicians, now reemerges as a fascinating storybook world for a larger cultural public.