Allen Correll, director of bands at East Central University, will be one of 11 presenters Dec. 7 at a symposium in Melbourne, Australia, that will mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of noted composer and virtuoso pianist Percy Grainger.
The symposium at the University of Melbourne will provide a forum for the presentation of new perspectives and possible areas of study relating to Grainger and his music. The university also houses the Grainger Museum.
Correll will present a research paper that focuses on Grainger's visit to then-East Central State College for the third annual East Central Music Festival on Feb. 22-23, 1940.
Grainger and Carl King presented a clinic and concert in McBride Gym. The concert was notable because it was the premiere of Grainger's innovative "The Immovable Do" for wind band and was performed by ECU students.
"This is not part of the history books (on Grainger)," Correll said. "It is a footnote in history that hopefully now will make it into the history books."
Correll, who has included the piece in ECU's Wind Ensemble concerts, said the university has original unpublished letters from Grainger and King and newspaper stories that appeared in the ECU Journal and Ada Evening News about their time in Ada.
"He is one of the most famous composers we have had on our campus," Correll said. "He also was a great pianist. He was kind of a one-hit wonder with his 'Country Gardens' which he played in concert here."
Grainger and "Country Gardens" became synonymous. The published version broke previous sales records, with more than 40,000 copies sold annually just in the United States. He was expected to play it at every concert and came to detest it, disappointed that his major compositions were not widely known.
Grainger was born in Melbourne and is considered Australia's greatest composer. In England he is appreciated for preserving and arranging English folk songs, and in the United States, where he lived most of his life, he is highly regarded as a music educator, composer and arranger of band music.
The inventive Grainger composed "The Immovable Do" after the high C mechanism broke on one of his harmoniums, an organ-like instrument, which resulted in a continuously played high C tone. He began improvising around the drone, and wrote the piece with a high drone on C which is sounded continuously by various instruments.
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