A symphony for Australia: the 1951 commonwealth jubilee composers' competition

Article


McNeill, Rhoderick J.. 2010. "A symphony for Australia: the 1951 commonwealth jubilee composers' competition." Quadrant. 54 (1-2), pp. 86-91.
Article Title

A symphony for Australia: the 1951 commonwealth jubilee composers' competition

Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorMcNeill, Rhoderick J.
Journal TitleQuadrant
Journal Citation54 (1-2), pp. 86-91
Number of Pages6
Year2010
Place of PublicationSydney, Australia
Web Address (URL)http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2010/1-2
Abstract

The 1950s marked a significant decade within Australian symphonic composition. In 1951 the Federal Government organised a Jubilee competition for symphonic composition open to composers of all countries of the British Commonwealth. This attracted 38 entries from Australian composers out of a total of 83. The adjudicators were Eugene Goossens, John Barbirolli and Arnold Bax, following a preliminary screening of entries by Goossens, Bernard Heinze and Edgar Bainton. Although much of this music is now unknown, two Australian composers Robert Hughes and Clive Douglas emerged from the competition with second and third prizes respectively. This event, as well as the growing strength of ABC orchestras in each state, seems to have been a catalyst for promoting symphonic composition in Australia. The admission of non-Australians into the competition was regarded by local composers as a major snub as similar competition for literature and art had been restricted to Australian residents. The author will trace the stages of the planning, reception and adjudication of this competition and its aftermath, with especial focus on the Australian entries.

KeywordsAustralian composers; symphony; Commonwealth Jubilee Composers Competition 1951
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360302. Music composition and improvisation
430302. Australian history
360306. Musicology and ethnomusicology
Public Notes

© Quadrant Magazine Ltd.

Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Arts
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