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Eastern’s Balough edits book on innovative folk musician

Published on December 07, 2020

Eastern’s Balough edits book on innovative folk musician

book cover On Dec. 4, the Music Department at Eastern Connecticut State University celebrated the launch of “Distant Dreams: The Correspondence of Percy Grainger and Burnett Cross, 1946-1960,” co-edited by Teresa Balough, adjunct music professor. The book is published by Lyrebird Press at The University of Melbourne in Australia. 

Percy Grainger (1882-1961) was an Australian/American pianist and composer best known for his lighter folk-music settings. He also was an innovative composer of large-scale works for orchestra, chorus, piano and chamber ensemble. 

His most daring creative work was a quest to build an instrument to create “Free Music,” which he had heard in his mind since childhood. This was music capable of creating perfect glides to and from any microtone of tonal space and with any rhythmic complexity desired in an age before the synthesizer and advanced electronic technology had been developed.

“Distant Dreams” chronicles this quest through the letters that Grainger and his musical partner Burnett Cross, physics teacher and later science editor for Harcourt Brace, wrote to each other while Grainger was on tour. These letters were supplemented by essays written by Cross about Free Music.

This publication marks the fourth book about Grainger published by Balough, who is working on a 500-page “Introduction to the Life and Work of Percy Grainger.”

Balough has been a part-time instructor at Eastern since 1990 and is the wife of the late Owen Peagler, dean of the School of Continuing Education at Eastern from 1978-1998.  Interestingly, the two came together after a Grainger concert.

Written by Dwight Bachman

Categories: Faculty Research, Music