George English George English i(10249287 works by) (birth name: George Phillip John Engisch) (a.k.a. George Phillip John English)
Born: Established: 1882 Sydney, ; Died: Ceased: 1972
Gender: Male
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Singer (tenor) conductor, music director, composer, choir master, director, producer, radio programme manager.

Born and raised in Sydney George English initially established his reputation in the city as a concert tenor. In the early 1920s he moved to Melbourne and soon afterwards became choir master for the Victorian Choir. He also secured positions as a conductor and music director.

In 1928 English oversaw the first production of George Clutsam's opera Young England (Playhouse Theatre) and the following year collaborated with Hugh Huxham on the burlesque radio pantomime, Little Bo-Peep. First aired nationally from Melbourne radio station 3LO on 28 December, Little Bo-Peep was given a second broadcast in early January 1930. Another collaboration, this time with John Cazabon resulted in the 1934 musical comedy Good Catch.

Two symphonies, Opus 4 (A major) and Opus 5 (D minor) were written in 1932 and 1933 respectively, and given their first public performance in Melbourne during the 1934 Centenary of Victoria celebrations. English conducted on both occasions.

By the mid-1930s English had become more involved in radio, taking up a position as programme director for the B class station 3UZ, while still continuing his music career. In 1936 he was also appointed conductor of the Australian Broadcasting Commission's National Choir. Having become more involved in composition English had a number of his original works performed both in concert and on radio. In 1941 his oratorio, Armageddon was presented to the public at an ABC-sponsored concert in Sydney (9 December).

After moving to Brisbane in the early 1940s English directed the Queensland State and Municipal Choir and established the Brisbane Opera Guild.

Most Referenced Works


  • His son, George Selwyn English (1912-1980) was a composer who established a prominent career scoring music for film and radio documentaries between the 1950s and 1970s. He also composed a symphony (in A minor).

  • Rhoderick McNeill writes that the 'two George English symphonies, especially the Symphony in A, are equally as worthy of attention as many of the [Alfred] Hill symphonies of the 1950s, and show that Hill was not alone in representing the late-Romantic style in symphonic music in Australia' (The Australian Symphony from Federation to 1960. London: Routledge, 2014, 74).

Last amended 20 Oct 2016 10:05:58
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