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Source: Sun (Sydney) 4 Mar. 1934, p.27.
George English i(3 works by) (a.k.a. Selwyn George English; George English Jnr )
Born: Established: 16 Sep 1912 Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 8 Oct 1980 Mosman, Cremorne - Mosman - Northbridge area, Sydney Northeastern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
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BiographyHistory

The son of music director, composer and radio manager George Philip John English and his wife Marjorie, (nee Hodgson), George Selwyn English was eucated at Malvern Church of England Grammar and Melbourne High School. His first known work to be presented before the public was the musical comedy, Good Catch (1934). A collaboration with John Cazabon, it was staged at Sydney's Savoy Theatre over two nights in March and under the patronage of the New South Wales Governor and his wife, and the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress.

In 1935 English travelled to Great Britain where he worked as a music critic and co-founded and edited the British Motorist magazine. After returning to Australia in 1939 he secured employment with Amalgamated Wireless Australasia and later worked as a critic for several Sydney newspapers before taking up a position as chief editor for music publisher W. H. Paling.

The 1940s saw English establish himself as a composer for the Australian Commonwealth Film Unit as well as the film units operated by the Shell and Vacuum oil companies. Among his film and radio scores are Alice Through the Centre (1950), The Australian Dingo (1958), The Death of a Wombat (1959) and The First Waratah (1972). Death of a Wombat, with music to a prose narrative by Ivan Smith, won the 1959 Prix Italia award for Best Documentary.

Described by John Carmody as a 'technically skilled composer of limited imagination,' English's output as a composer comprised numerous songs, including 'Song for a Crowning' (1953), to a poem by Elizabeth Riddell, Sinfonia (1967), the overture, Botany Bay 1770 (1960), Quintet for Wind Instruments (1969), Chiaroscuro (1966) for string trio, and a Symphony in A minor (undated). He also won an Australian Broadcasting Commission prize for the overture for full orchestra, For a Royal Occasion (1952).

In addition to his career as a composer English was a 'writer member' of the board of the Australasian Performing Right Association (1961-68), editor of its journal (1969-78), and founding president (1960) of the Fellowship of Australian Composers (later secretary and a long-time councillor). His musical activism also saw him begin a campaign in 1961 for a musical counterpart of the Commonwealth Literary Fund which led in 1967 to the establishment of the Australian Composers Advisory Board.

English died in 1980 from cancer.

[Source: John Carmody. 'English, George Selwyn (1912–1980).' Australian Dictionary of Biography]

Last amended 20 Oct 2016 10:43:01
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