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Blog post from Wednesday, 8 July, 2015

On this day, 8th July 1882, Australian composer Percy Grainger was born.

Grainger left Australia at the age of 13 to attend the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. Between 1901 and 1914 he was based in London, where he established himself first as a society pianist and later as a concert performer, composer and collector of original folk melodies. As his reputation grew he met many of the significant figures in European music, forming important friendships with Frederick Delius and Edvard Grieg. He became a champion of Nordic music and culture, his enthusiasm for which he often expressed in private letters.

In 1914, Grainger moved to the United States, where he lived for the rest of his life, though he travelled widely in Europe and in Australia. He served briefly as a bandsman in the United States Army during 1917–18, and took American citizenship in 1918. He died there in 1961.

The State Library of New South Wales holds a large number of musical scores and sound recordings composed by Percy Grainger, plus many books about his life and work.

Percy Grainger, pianist and composer - portrait, ca. 1901 / Hana Studios, 22 Bedford Street, Strand, London