Australian classical music. Not quite an oxymoron, but certainly an unfamiliar phrase. Yet Australian literature has been promoted by a battery of university courses overseas, following the beachhead established by Patrick White’s Nobel Prize. Similarly, Australian art has twice had great moments of impact: the Whitechapel exhibition of 1961 for the Nolan–Boyd generation, and now the continuing worldwide interest in Aboriginal art. Our rock stars have repeatedly made worldwide reputations; in classical music, Australian singers have regularly risen to the top. But classical composition has been something else. Apart from the quirky Percy Grainger – deftly working in small forms, sometimes with large resources – no Australian composer has had a significant influence overseas (though Brett Dean is shaping up as a contender). Grainger had to abandon Australia to do so, eventually taking out American citizenship.
- Biography and Memoirs
- Peggy GlanvilleHicks
- Suzanne Robinson
- Jim Davidson
- University of Illinois Press
- VIC contributor
Jim Davidson is an historian and biographer, and a former editor of Meanjin. He is the author of A Three-Cornered Life: The historian WK Hancock (2010) and the memoir A Führer for a Father: The domestic face of colonialism (2017). His biographies Lyrebird Rising (of the musical patron Louise Hanson-Dyer) and A Three-Cornered Life (of the historian Keith Hancock) have won major awards. His most recent books are Moments in Time: A Book of Australian Postcards (2016) and A Führer for a Father (2017). He is currently writing a double biography of two literary magazine editors, Clem Christesen of Meanjin and Stephen Murray-Smith of Overland.
From the New Issue
The SS Officer’s Armchair: In search of a hidden life by Daniel LeeReviewed by Robert Dessaix
The Power Broker: Mark Leibler, an Australian Jewish life by Michael GawendaReviewed by David Trigger
The China Journals: Ideology and intrigue in the 1960s by Hugh Trevor-Roper, edited by Richard Davenport-HinesReviewed by Nicholas Jose