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IU Jacobs School of Music mourns death of piano professor Edmund Battersby

March 26, 2016 

Edmund Battersby

Edmund Battersby

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BLOOMNGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is deeply saddened to announce the death of Edmund Battersby, professor of piano, who joined the school’s faculty in 1995.

Battersby died on Friday, March 25, at his home in Bloomington, Ind., at the age of 66.

Battersby was born on Nov. 10, 1949, in Detroit, Mich., and earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School. He taught at Montclair State College and the Kneisel Hall School of String and Ensemble Music in Blue Hill, Maine, before joining the Jacobs School.

Throughout the course of an international career as a pianist, orchestral soloist, chamber player and teacher, Battersby earned the highest praise from his audiences, critics and colleagues. American Record Guide claimed that his landmark recordings of Beethoven’s “Diabelli Variations,” on modern and period instruments, put him “in the company of Brendel, Serkin, Schnabel and Pollini.”

His many CDs for Musical Heritage Society, Naxos, Koch and others garnered critical acclaim, with his recording of “Goyescas of Granados” being included on the 1992 Grammy short list.

Battersby’s digital rerelease of Mendelssohn’s complete “Songs Without Words,” on the Schoodic Sound label, was a 1982 “Sleeper of the Year” for WNCN Magazine, the artery for what was then the premier classical radio station of New York City.

The 2012 Schoodic Sound digital rerelease of his iconic Musical Heritage Society recording, “The Early Romantic Piano,” performed on a Rodney Regier replica of an 1834 instrument by Conrad Graf, was warmly received by Fanfare Magazine: “This is simply a beautiful recording that should be heard by everyone.” Schoodic Sound also released his Musical Heritage Society recording “Franz Schubert: Shorter Works for Piano” and his recently recorded complete “Iberia” by Isaac Albeniz.

Battersby gained the admiration of Olivier Messiaen, George Crumb, George Rochberg, Elliot Schwartz and William Bolcom in live and recorded performances directed by the composers.

He played recitals worldwide, most notably in London, New York City and Washington, D.C., and performed with conductors such as McGegan, Schwarz and Schuller with orchestras ranging from the Indianapolis Symphony to the Pittsburgh Symphony.

A frequent guest at the United States Library of Congress, Battersby performed on its series with the Vermeer Quartet, and elsewhere with the Tokyo Quartet and the Orion Quartet.

Festivals featuring him in solo or ensemble capacity included Mostly Mozart, Santa Fe, Seattle and La Jolla.

He gave master classes at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, Hochschule fur Musik in Leipzig and Princeton, Rutgers and Duke universities. During summer 2013, he gave master classes at the Euro Arts Festival in Halle, Germany, and in Dublin, Ireland, for the inaugural season of the new Dublin International Piano Festival.

Battersby was the artistic director of Harbor Music, the Artur Balsam Chamber Ensemble Classes for Piano and Strings, supported by the Indiana University Foundation since 1999.

He is survived by his spouse, Christian Claessens; two children, Justine and Julian; and Joanna Claessens.