Percy Grainger (1882–1961) was born and spent his formative years in Melbourne, but attained celebrity status as a concert pianist in the US, Europe and the Commonwealth, and was equally renowned as a composer. His extraordinarily full life also included achievements as a pioneering ethnomusicologist, clothes designer, collector, artist and inventor of proto electronic music machines.
Grainger was a self-absorbed, meticulous documenter of his own life and circle. The two main legacies of that recording and collecting are the holdings of the Percy Grainger Library at White Plains, New York, and the Museum he established in the mid-1930s at the University of Melbourne. The latter includes almost all of his diaries and daybooks, which have proved invaluable to scholars in compiling a comprehensive picture of Grainger’s life, including his reading and travel.
A selection of Grainger’s diaries and daybooks, including that for 1941 opened at 11–14 November to show his detailed recording, some in coded symbols and Danish.
The 1928 journal of Antonia Sawyer Morse, Grainger’s manager, opened at her description of his wedding at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, on 9 August 1928.
Tables from David Parr’s doctoral thesis, Percy Grainger as ‘Educator-at-Large’: the formation, expression and propaga- tion of his manliness (University of Queensland, 1998) summarising Grainger’s key literary influences (p. 32) and better known walking feats (p. 84). Both tables were compiled from a study of Grainger’s archives, including his diaries and daybooks.
Colour reproduction of Rupert Bunny’s portrait of Grainger, ca. 1902–1904.