Jacobs School of Music professor of piano Edmund Battersby died in his home Friday at age 66.
He completed both bachelor of music and master of music degrees at the Juilliard School. After teaching at Montclair State College and at the Kneisel Hall School of String and Ensemble Music in Blue Hill, Maine, Battersby joined IU’s faculty in 1995.
Deiran Manning, a first-year master’s student in piano performance, is a former student of Battersby. He said he came to IU specifically to study with Battersby.
“He had an incredible insight into how to approach a piece of music,” Manning said. “He also had great insight into composers’ intentions.”
Battersby’s interpretations of music often had a historical basis, Manning said.
He was a very understanding instructor, he said.
“He gave a different set of expectations for different students because he understood that students are capable of different things,” Manning said.
Battersby was the artistic director of Harbor Music, a summer chamber music festival in Maine, where Jacobs students take classes from an international faculty and perform in concerts.
Battersby was praised highly by audiences, critics and colleagues, according to the music school press release. His recording of “Goyescas of Granados” was placed on the 1992 Grammy short list.
The 2012 release of Battersby’s recording “The Early Romantic Piano” received a positive response from Fanfare Magazine, which called it “a beautiful recording that should be heard by everyone,” according to the release.
He performed and taught internationally, including recitals in London, New York City and Washington, D.C., and master classes at the Royal Irish Academy, Hochschule fur Musik in Leipzig, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Duke University, Euro Arts Festival and Dublin International Piano Festival.
Battersby performed in the United States Library of Congress’ series with the Vermeer Quartet and played with groups including the Tokyo Quartet and the Orion Quartet. He has also performed with orchestras such as the Pittsburgh Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony and Hartford Symphony.
In a 2015 interview with Final Note Magazine, IU alumnus and pianist Archie Chen said his studies with Battersby greatly affected his approach to music.
“Edmund Battersby taught me to listen intensely, to experiment and hear new things in my playing — much like Chopin taught his students to do,” Chen said in the magazine.
“He often spoke about Goethe, in that one must know that a sound is possible before being able to create it. He also talked about silences in music and how most pianists are uncomfortable with silence and use the pedal as a crutch. He very much influenced the textures of my personal sound.”
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