Percy Grainger was born in1882 at Brighton, Victoria, Australia. After studying in Germany he moved in 1910 to London, where his friendship with Edvard Grieg inspired him to collect English folk music, which he did through phonograph recordings; he also came to know Delius and Cyril Scott at this time.

He moved to America in 1914, where in addition to his prolific composing - he produced in total well over 1200 works and arrangements - he gave concert tours and lectures, also setting up the Grainger Museum in Australia in the 1930s. He did much to publicise medieval European music, and the music of other cultures. Towards the end of his life he investigated 'Free Music' - music not limited by time or pitch intervals, devising Free Music machines with scientist Burnett Cross. In 1961, he died in New York, and is now buried in the family grave at Adelaide, South Australia.