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Classical Composers A-Z: Malcolm Williamson

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Malcolm Williamson, a former Master of the Queen's Music.

Born
21st November, 1931, in Sydney, New South Wales.

Adolescence
Studied in Sydney with Eugene Goosens from age of 11 and in London with Elizabeth Lutyens.

Adult Life
Played church organs by day and pianos in nightclubs to earn his living. Wrote an organ work, Vision of Christ Phoenix, for the opening of Coventry Cathedral in 1962. His main sources of inspiration have been Messiaen in his early life and Britten later on.

Operas have included Our Man in Havana (1963), English Eccentrics (1964), and The Happy Princess (1965), the latter being written especially for children.

Other works have been two symphonies, concertos, and choral works like The Mass of Christ the King (1978). He became Master of the Queen's Music in 1975.

He died on March 2, 2003.

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