The Master and the Media: Malcolm Williamson in the Press Chapter uri icon


  • Malcolm Williamson was one of many Australian creative artists who relocated to England after World War II, yet few expatriates achieved his level of success or aroused as much controversy. His stature as the 'most commissioned composer in Britain' during the 1960s led to his appointment in 1975 as Master of the Queen's Music. However, following rumours that he was unable to meet deadlines for a number of significant Royal commissions, the press asserted that he had neglected the post and fallen out of favour with the Establishment. Drawing on the collection of Williamson's papers held at the National Library of Australia and the archive of Josef Weinberger publishing house in London, this paper addresses the inaccuracies of the media's perception and representation of Williamson, its role in fabricating a rift between the composer and the Royal family, and the implications of such damaging speculation on his career and experience as an Australian expatriate.

publication date

  • 2009

published in

  • Musical Islands: Exploring Connections between Music, Place and Research


  • Cambridge Scholars Publishing