July 8, 1882: George Percy Grainger is born at Finchal (now no.299), New Street, in Brighton, Victoria Colony, the only child of John Harry Grainger, an architect/engineer and founder of the first string quartet in Adelaide, South Australia, and Rosa Annie Aldridge, the daughter of a hotel keeper.
May 14, 1895: A benefit performance for Percy Grainger (12) takes place at Melbourne Town Hall. He is leaving Victoria at the end of the month for the Hoch Conservatorium in Frankfurt-am-Main.
May 29, 1895: Percy Grainger (12), accompanied by his mother, departs Adelaide aboard the German ship Gera, bound for Europe. They will disembark in Genoa and travel to Frankfurt by train.
October 30, 1895: Percy Grainger (13) gives his first performance outside of Australia, playing a movement from a Mozart (†103) piano sonata at the Hoch Conservatorium, Frankfurt.
October 9, 1896: Percy Grainger (14) participates in a concert at the Hoch Conservatorium in Frankfurt, playing a Mozart (†104) piano concerto with his teacher, James Kwast, playing the orchestral reduction.
December 6, 1900: Percy Grainger (18) gives what is probably his first solo piano recital in Frankfurt.
June 11, 1901: Percy Grainger (18) appears in a recital in St. James’ Hall, London by soprano Lilian Devlin, also Australian.
October 29, 1901: Percy Grainger (19) gives his first solo piano recital in London, at Steinway Hall. Reviews are mostly positive.
February 6, 1902: Percy Grainger (19) makes his first appearance with an orchestra in England, playing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto in Bath.
June 2, 1902: On his second trip to England, Percy Grainger (19) appears in London with the vocalist Ada Crossley.
May 28, 1903: Mrs. Frank Lowrey organizes a concert at her London home, Queen’s House, presenting several choral premieres by Percy Grainger (20): The Running of Shindand and The Inuit, both two words of Kipling, as well as the folksong settings Irish Tune from County Derry, The Hunt is Up, and Ye Banks and Braes.
July 31, 1903: After eight years in Europe, Percy Grainger (21) departs England with his mother aboard RMS Omrah making for Australia.
September 7, 1903: Five weeks out of England, Percy Grainger (21), aboard RMS Omrah, reaches Adelaide, South Australia for a performing tour.
January 2, 1904: Vocalist Ada Crossley appears in the Exhibition Building, Melbourne, with a small group of musicians including Percy Grainger (21). The audience of 20,000 breaks all records.
September 1, 1905: Percy Grainger (23) arrives in Brigg, Lincolnshire for his first folksong collecting expedition.
May 20, 1906: Edvard Grieg (62) tells his diary about the performance of his music by Percy Grainger (23), “For the moment, there is no Norwegian who can do the same thing…It shows that we still don’t have a Norwegian who has the understanding to take on such assignments, and if such an understanding is not present where it should be, in the country itself, then it exists outside, yes, indeed in Australia, where the wonderful Percy Grainger was born…Great music can transcend the purely national level whilst, nevertheless, retaining its nationalistic roots.” (Bird, 133-134)
July 26, 1906: Percy Grainger (24) makes his first cylinder recordings of folksongs at Brigg, Lincolnshire. Within a few days he will have a total of 56.
April 4, 1908: Over the next three days, Percy Grainger (25) will record 48 cylinders of folksongs in Gloucestershire.
May 16, 1908: Percy Grainger (25) enters a recording studio for the first time. He records, for the Gramophone Company (HMV), the Hungarian Rhapsody no.12 by Franz Liszt (†21), his own arrangement of Charles Stanford’s (55) Irish March-Jig—Maguire’s Kick, and the cadenza from the first movement of Edvard Grieg’s (†0) Piano Concerto.
May 23, 1908: Cecil Sharp (48) writes to Percy Grainger (25) congratulating him on his folksong collecting, but stating his strong reservations about the use of the phonograph. Sharp thinks it makes the singers nervous. And he believes that an exact record of the performance is not the goal, but rather its artistic effect.
May 25, 1908: Today and tomorrow, Percy Grainger (25) collects a significant number of Lincolnshire folksongs on 66 cylinders, in Brigg.
January 28, 1910: After his recital in Christiania, Nina Grieg introduces Percy Grainger (27) to King Haakon VII of Norway and Queen Maud.
October 28, 1910: Percy Grainger’s (28) orchestral works Mock Morris and Molly on the Shore are performed publicly for the first time, in Copenhagen.
October 5, 1911: Percy Grainger (29) writes to his publisher asking that all his subsequent works be published under the name Percy Aldridge Grainger, Aldridge being the maiden name of his mother.
February 18, 1912: English Dance for orchestra by Percy Grainger (29) is performed for the first time, at the London Palladium.
August 16, 1914: Percy Grainger (32) makes his last important appearance in London when he conducts his Shepherd’s Hey at Queen’s Hall.
September 8, 1914: Percy Grainger (32) and his mother arrive in Boston from Liverpool aboard the Laconia .
December 4, 1914: Percy Grainger (32) appears for the first time in New York, playing the piano part in his Shepherd’s Hey with the New York Symphony in Aeolian Hall.
January 23, 1915: Percy Grainger (32) makes his unofficial composing debut in New York as the Symphony Society of New York performs his Molly on the Shore, Irish Tune from County Derry, and Shepherd’s Hey. Grainger plays the piano part in Shepherd’s Hey.
February 11, 1915: Percy Grainger (32) gives his New York debut solo recital in Aeolian Hall. It is very successful. Critics are delighted.
June 8, 1916: In a Nutshell for orchestra, wood and steel marimbas, and synthetic Nabimba by Percy Grainger (33) is performed for the first time, in Norfolk, Connecticut. The composer plays the piano part.
June 7, 1917: The Warriors, an imaginary ballet by Percy Grainger (34), is performed for the first time, in Norfolk, Connecticut, the composer conducting.
June 9, 1917: Percy Grainger (34), still a British subject, buys a soprano saxophone, walks to Fort Totten in Queens, New York, and enlists in the United States Army.
June 10, 1917: Newly enlisted Percy Grainger (34) is transferred to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and becomes a member of the 15th Band of the Coast Artillery Corps. Soon, friends who stopped communicating with him because of his precipitous removal to America in 1914, begin writing again.
August 28, 1917: Percy Grainger (35) begins making recordings for the Columbia Graphophone Company in New York.
October 1, 1917: Marching Song of Democracy by Percy Grainger (35) is performed for the first time, in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is wildly successful.
June 6, 1919: Children’s March—Over the Hills and Far Away by Percy Grainger (36) is performed for the first time with band, at Columbia University.
June 18, 1920: Molly on the Shore for band by Percy Grainger (37) is performed for the first time, at Columbia University.
May 4, 1921: Percy Grainger (38) and his mother buy a house at 7 Cromwell Street in White Plains, New York, north of New York City. This will be his home for the rest of his life.
April 30, 1922: Mrs. Rose Grainger falls from the 18th floor office of Antonia Sawyer, her son’s agent, on Fifth Avenue at 54th Street, New York, onto the roof of a four-story adjacent building. Percy Grainger (39) is conducting in Los Angeles at the time. After the concert he is handed a telegram announcing only his mother’s death and a request to return to New York at once. Her death will be judged a suicide.
September 8, 1922: Percy Grainger (40) gives a recital in Christiania (Oslo), the first of 31 performances in 35 days. Press and public are ecstatic.
July 28, 1923: Percy Grainger (41) strings a chair between two poles, and with the help of a Norwegian friend, carries Frederick Delius (61) up the mountain Hovdalien, near Delius’ home in Lesjaskog, Norway. Delius wants to see a mountain sunset before he becomes totally blind. He is not disappointed.
June 5, 1926: Percy Grainger (43) performs the first of eight solo recitals over the next three weeks, at the Melbourne Auditorium.
October 2, 1927: While traveling between Denmark and England, Percy Grainger (45) writes to Ella Ström proposing marriage. She will accept.
May 14, 1928: To A Nordic Princess for orchestra by Percy Grainger (45) is performed for the first time. Grainger composed this, thinking of his upcoming wedding to Swedish poet Ella Ström.
August 9, 1928: At a concert in the Hollywood Bowl, Percy Grainger (46) conducts his To a Nordic Princess and the premiere of his Australian Up-Country Song. At the intermission, he marries the Swedish poet and painter Ella Viola Ström before the 22,000 onlookers.
July 25, 1929: Hill Song no.2 for band by Percy Grainger (47) is performed for the first time, in Royal Hall, Harrowgate.
August 14, 1929: Copenhagen newspapers report the donation by Percy Grainger (47) of over 200 Danish folksongs to the Royal Library.
October 25, 1932: Duke Ellington (33) and his Orchestra play for a class in music appreciation at New York University taught by Percy Grainger (50). Wallingford Riegger (47) is also present. Grainger favorably compares Ellington’s melodies with those of Frederick Delius (70) and Johann Sebastian Bach (†182). Ellington remarks “I’ll have to find out about this Delius.”
August 16, 1933: Percy Grainger (51) ends his affiliation with New York University at the end of the summer session. He will never again be affiliated with an academic institution.
January 10, 1935: Percy Grainger (52) gives a broadcast lecture “The Goal of Musical Progress” in Australia, including his “free music.” He is not happy with the result.
March 7, 1937: Lincolnshire Posy for band by Percy Grainger (54) is performed for the first time, in Milwaukee, directed by the composer.
January 6, 1938: Percy Grainger (55) performs for the third time at the White House, this time for President and Mrs. Roosevelt.
December 10, 1938: Percy Grainger (56) is present for the ceremonial opening of the Grainger Museum at the University of Melbourne.
July 30, 1943: Random Round by Percy Grainger (61) is performed for the first time, in Interlochen Bowl, Michigan.
July 29, 1953: Percy Grainger (71) and his wife depart New York for Europe. He will have a prostate operation in Denmark.
August 18, 1953: Percy Grainger (71) gives a private recital for the staff of the Aarhus Kommunhospital where he is about to undergo a prostate operation.
August 20, 1953: Percy Grainger (71) undergoes surgery in Aarhus, Denmark. It is only partially successful. He is found to have extensive cancer of the prostate.
February 20, 1961: Noon. George Percy Aldridge Grainger dies of prostate cancer in White Plains Hospital, White Plains, New York, USA, aged 78 years, seven months, and twelve days.
March 2, 1961: A funeral service in memory of Percy Grainger takes place in St. Matthew’s Church, Marryatville, South Australia. His earthly remains are laid to rest in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide. While still living, Grainger asked that there be no service of any kind.