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As part of the Society’s 60th-anniversary celebrations in 2024, Corresponding Secretary Emeritus, Dana Paul Perna, recorded each of the following interviews with previous Presidents and Board Members of the Percy Grainger Society, and its predecessors.

The Presidents

The Percy Grainger Society has had four presidents:  Ella Grainger (1964–1979); Rolf Stang (1979–2014); Barry Peter Ould (2014–2021); and Paul Jackson (2021–present). Each had his or her own approach and set of tasks during their term of service. We owe each a deep debt of gratitude for their care and attention to the legacy.

Ella Viola Grainger Manville, born Stockholm, 1889, was a Swedish-born painter and poet. She married Percy Grainger in 1928, whom she had met aboard ship en route from Australia to the United States, in 1926. The couple were wed at the Hollywood Bowl during a concert that featured the first performance of the composer's To a Nordic Princess, inspired by and dedicated to his bride. She assisted in many concerts, and was an active partner is constructing several Free Music Machines. Their unique bond lasted for thirty-three years, until Percy Grainger’s death in 1961. She was the founding President of the then Percy Grainger Library Society.

Barry Peter Ould co-founded the Percy Grainger Society (UK) with David Tall in 1978. In 1987, he formed the Bardic Edition music publishing house, which has since published numerous editions of Grainger’s music. As an authority on Percy Grainger, almost everyone interested in Grainger’s music has encountered his affable, generous spirit and unswerving dedication to the composer's legacy. Barry Ould continues to work on editing numerous Grainger projects, including recordings by Chandos Records and, more recently, for the Naxos Records complete edition of Grainger’s works for Wind Band. He also contributed a major catalogue of Grainger’s compositions to The New Percy Grainger Companion.


The Percy Grainger Societies have been very much a volunteer organization, with few exceptions. One notable exception was White Plains native and long-time employee, Stewart Manville. In 1972, ten years after his initial employment, he became Ella Grainger’s second husband, or as he liked to put it “he married the bosses’ wife.” 

Stewart Manville, born White Plains, New York in 1927, had a great love of music and opera in particular. After his freshman year at University of Wyoming, where he found and embraced his Quaker faith, he embarked for Europe to study opera. In 1961, after returning to White Plains, he completed a General Studies degree at Columbia University. While searching for work, a series of introductions found him in the employ of Ella Grainger, where his interest in music initiated what was to become many decades of caretaking the Percy Grainger Home & Studio, as well as the Grainger music legacy.

Former Board of Directors Remember

From the early days, as is true today, preserving the Grainger legacy was best approached with a group of colleagues. We are grateful to those who have assisted along the way. Here are some of their recollections.

Eric Culver grew up in a musical family in Rochester, New York. His parents were professional violinists and were introduced by Dr. Frederic Fennell. He has been active as a composer, pianist and conductor for decades. While teaching at the College of the Holy Cross he became is a board member of the Grainger Society, and was honored with emeritus recognition in 2021.

Those Who Loved the Music, and Passed it On

We cannot ignore the contributions of those who love Grainger’s music, sought it out, and performed it. Their efforts have allowed audiences to experience the beauty and complexity of Grainger’s compositions, ensuring that his legacy as a pioneering composer lives on. Through their dedication, they have helped to bring Grainger’s music to a wider audience and secure its place in music history.

Philip Brunelle has been working to promote Grainger's choral music for more than 40 years. Since January 1982 he has written “Choral Old and New”, a column for The American Organist. In 1969, he founded VocalEssence, and has remained as Artistic Director since that time. In 2020 he was awarded The American Prize in Choral Conducting in the community division, and was presented with the Honorary Member Award by the Society for American Music.

Joseph Kreines, a native of Chicago, lives in Florida, USA. He has served as clinician and guest conductor with some 300 bands, orchestras and choruses throughout the nation and also appears as piano accompanist at numerous recitals and festivals. In addition, Joseph Kreines has composed a number of original works for various media, and has made numerous transcriptions for concert band and brass choir, and other chamber ensembles, being particularly well-known for those of the music of Percy Grainger. He is also the author of Music for Concert Band, a selective annotated guide to band literature. In 2004, he was honored as an inductee to the Roll of Distinction in the Florida Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame.

R. Mark Rogers has degrees from Texas Tech University and the University of Texas. As Director of Publications for Southern Music Company between 1993 and 2012, he authored editions of the music of Percy Grainger that have entered band repertory worldwide. He is also widely published as an arranger and transcriber, with performances by all five of the Washington, DC service bands. Mark Rogers is conductor of the Heart of Texas Concert Band, serves on the adjunct faculty of four universities in south and central Texas, and performs on bassoon and contrabassoon with six regional orchestras.

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Part 2

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The Percy Grainger Society's programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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