It is with sadness that we share the news of the death of Edmund Battersby, who passed away on Friday, March 25. Edmund was professor of music in the piano department and joined the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 1995.
Edmund was born on November 10, 1949, in Detroit, Michigan. He earned a Bachelor and Master of Music from The Juilliard School. Before joining the faculty at the Jacobs School, he taught at Montclair State College and the Kneisel Hall School of String and Ensemble Music in Blue Hill, Maine.
Throughout the course of an international career as pianist, orchestral soloist, chamber player, and teacher, Edmund earned the highest praise from his audiences, critics, and colleagues alike. 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 over the years were noted impressively, the 1992 Grammy short list for Goyescas of Granados among them.
Edmund’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” (Dubins). Schoodic Sound also released his Musical Heritage Society recording Franz Schubert: Shorter Works for Piano and his newly recorded complete Iberia by Isaac Albeniz.
Edmund 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 Pittsburgh Symphony.
A frequent guest at the U.S. Library of Congress, Edmund 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, the 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.
Edmund 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; his two children, Justine and Julian; and Joanna Claessens. As we learn of further plans we will share them with you.