Grainger, (George) Percy (Aldridge)
- Malcolm Gillies
- and David Pear
(b Brighton, Victoria, July 8, 1882; d White Plains, NY, Feb 20, 1961). Australian-American composer, pianist, and folksong collector. Best known for his settings of British folk music, he was also an innovative composer of original works and ‘free music’, and an accomplished performer.
Grainger spent the first 13 years of his life in Melbourne, where he was educated at home under the guidance of his mother, Rose. She instilled in him a love of the arts and an heroic outlook on life, reinforced by his study of Classical legends and Icelandic sagas. He also received occasional tutorials in languages, art, drama, elocution, and the piano (with Louis Pabst, 1892–4). Following his Melbourne début as a pianist in 1894, funds were raised to support further musical training in Frankfurt, where he studied at the Hoch Conservatory (1895–1901) with James Kwast (piano), Iwan Knorr (composition, theory), and others. There he formed lifelong friendships with Cyril Scott, Henry Balfour Gardiner, and Roger Quilter, who, with Norman O’Neill, became known as the Frankfurt Group. During these years he was strongly influenced by the writings of Rudyard Kipling (he would compose many Kipling settings, ...