MS 9083
Papers of Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912-1990)

Scope and Content Note

  • Papers
  • 1934-1981
  • 42cm (3 boxes) + 1 folio box
  • Available for reference

Correspondence, essays, diaries (1936-81) clippings, articles, programs, photographs, and personal artifacts relating to Peggy Glanville-Hicks' musical career.

The papers were purchased by the National Library of Australia in 1993 from Glanville-Hicks' biographer, Ms Wendy Beckett.

The Wendy Beckett Papers are held by the National Library at MS 9084. Other Peggy Glanville-Hicks Papers are held by the Mitchell Library, Sydney. A record of Glanville-Hicks' Gymnopedie was transferred to the National Film and Sound Archive.


The papers were microfilmed in 1999. The film is held in the Manuscript Reading Room under supervised access. The call number is Mfm G 28121-28127.

Biographical Note

Peggy Glanville-Hicks, one of Australia's most significant composers was born in Melbourne on 29 December 1912. Her creative talents were evident from early childhood and by the age of 15 she had begun formal studies in composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

In 1931, she won an open scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, where she studied with such eminent composers as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arthur Benjamin, Constant Lambert and later conducting with Sir Malcolm Sargent. In 1936 she was awarded the Octsavia Travelling Scholarship which enabled her to complete further studies in Vienna and Paris.

In November 1938 she married the British composer Stanley Bate, although the marriage was dissolved in 1949.

In 1938 Sir Adrian Boult conducted her Choral Suite at the International Society for Contemporary Music (I.S.C.M.) festival in London. This event marked the first time an Australian had been represented in this festival.

During her life Glanville-Hicks, also know as P G-H, produced an enormous output of musical composition. Her most active period as a composer (1942-59) occurred while she was living in the US, and she took out American citizenship in 1948. She wrote music criticism for the New York Herald Tribune (1948-58) and music journals, as well as promoted new American music.

Increasingly influenced by eastern music, she moved to Greece in 1959 where she made a comparative study of the Demotic music of Greece and the musical system of India. The outcome of those years was the opera Nausicaa, which was presented by the Greek government in 1961. The premiere was a triumph and achieved international recognition and coverage.

Her many works include the opera The Transposed Heads (1958), the orchestral work Letters from Morocco (1952) in addition to film and ballet scores.

She retired to Australia in poor health and died in Sydney on 25 June 1990. Her estate now supports a scholarship for young Australian composers.

Series List

  1. Correspondence, 1956-79
  2. Writings, 1934-64
  3. Diaries, 1936-81
  4. Newspaper cuttings, 1940-59
  5. Programs, 1949-57
  6. Photographs, 1959-1980's
  7. Miscellaneous papers, 1950-63

Series Descriptions

SERIES 1 :Correspondence, 1956-79

Correspondence, 1956 and 1974-79 received by Glanville-Hicks from the violinist Yehudi Menuhin and the author Paul Bowles. Includes letters from Yehudi Menuhin regarding upcoming musical projects during his time in Gstaad, Switzerland and Cape Town, South Africa during 1956. The Paul Bowles letters relate to various musical issues while he was living in Tangier, Morocco during 1974-79.

1 Folder


In addition to musical compositions, Peggy Glanville-Hicks wrote many essays on music, as well as some poetry.


  1. 'Musical Avant Gardians : collected essays on music 1945-1964'.

  2. Essays on music and musicians written between 1934-64:
    • 'Our cultural erosion'
    • 'What makes an opera work?'
    • 'It's for the birds'
    • 'Maria Callas : oracle of the opera'
    • 'The house of the angel'
    • 'This I believe'.

    Various poems as well as a bound collection of photocopied poetry:

    • 'A grace for composer'
    • 'Ciercle'
    • 'The new death'
    • 'Pablo'
    • 'The initiate'
    • 'Design for death'
    • 'Now'.

  3. Draft chapters and notes for an unpublished book 'Apollo's House', and two draft versions of a lecture 'The contemporary composer in the modern environment'.

SERIES 3 : DIARIES, 1936-81

The diaries cover the years from 1936-81. They are brief and document the daily schedule of practice and rehearsals as well as appointments and social events. There is very little personal detail mentioned, although there are references to her divorce and various illnesses. Brief entries regarding travel arrangements are included in most diaries. All diaries have detailed notes regarding cash accounts, payments due and other financial matters. Most diaries have various names and addresses recorded in them.


  1. Diaries, 1936-40.
    Diary for 1936 refers to Granville-Hick's college semester dates and payments made on her piano. The diaries for 1937-38 document visits to Pompeii, the Vatican, Florence and Milan. References are made to choral classes, and the musical works, Cupid and Suns in the wood. The diaries for 1939-40 mentions BBC rehearsals and sailing to Bombay, Suez and Malta, as well as notes regarding the finale of a symphony.

  2. Diaries, 1941-49.
    Brief diaries which mention visits to the United States and Wales, and war being declared on Japan. There are frequent references to Paul Bowles and meetings with Pablo (Casals?). Rehearsals with Yehudi Menuhin are referred to as well as her divorce from Stanley Bate in 1949.

  3. Diaries, 1950-54.
    Diaries for 1950-54 document lecture tours in the United States and travel to Australia in 1952. There are references to Paul Bowles and the completion of the script 'This I believe' in 1954.

  4. Diaries, 1955-59.
    The diaries document Glanville-Hick's travel through Europe and the recording of a harp sonata. The diary for 1956 refers to an operation and hospitalisation, as well as further travels throughout Europe. Rehearsal schedules for Little Women are mentioned in 1958 diary as well as the opening of an opera. Glanville-Hicks notes her depression in 1959 diary as well as further medical appointments.

  5. Diaries, 1960-65.
    Very brief diaries with references to the operas Nausicaa (1960) and Sappho (1961). Various travel dates and appointments are mentioned and there is a listing of her countries of residence in the back of the 1965 diary.

  6. Diaries, 1966-71.
    Brief accounts of daily schedules and renovations of her house in Greece.

  7. Diaries, 1972-77.
    Records of daily appointments and further renovations of her house in Athens.

  8. Diaries, 1978-81.
    Brief entries regarding day to day domestic activities and appointments. There is also mention of a "portrait" which appears over several days in the 1981 diary.


Newspaper cuttings kept by Glanville-Hicks relating to her career and that of her husband. Included is a letter to Glanville-Hicks from the Romeike Press Clippings National Service informing her that they will endeavour to collect all newspaper articles relating to her career and a clipping of Glanville-Hicks' review of Harry Partch's The Bewitcheds, from the New York Times, April 1959.

3 Folders



  1. Programs and notices of performances of works written or composed by Glanville-Hicks. Includes programs from the Victorian Symphony Orchestra and the Juliard School of Music in New York.

  2. Includes biographical pamphlets on Peggy Glanville-Hicks and Stanley Bate; advertisements for the University lecture Series 'Arts in our industrial world' and 'Music in our World' lectures; various other programs including the 14th Annual American Music Festival 1953.

  3. Contains a review by Lex Van Delden on the Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta's interpretation of one of Glanville-Hicks sonatas.Programs from the opera Transposed Heads, The Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation and other works.

  4. Large program entitled 'Composer for theatre : P. Glanville-Hicks: four operas and five ballets'.



  1. Photographs of Glanville-Hicks at the age of 23, as well as various photographs from the Royal College of Music in London where Granville-Hicks studied.

    Various photographs of Glanville-Hicks with Paul Bowles, Robert Graves, Yehudi Menuhin and others.

    Photographs from the opening night of Nausicca in Athens, including stage photographs of Glanville-Hicks, Robert Graves and John Butler.

    Several photographs of Stanely Bate taken at the Royal College of London.

    Photograph of Glanville-Hicks with Sappho manuscript.

    Photograph of Glanville-Hicks and Peter Sculthorpe when Glanville-Hicks recieved her Doctorate from the University of Sydney.

    Photograph of Glanville-Hicks in her Paddington apartment taken in the 1980s.

    Photographs of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Glanville-Hick's teacher at the Royal College of Music in London.

  2. Series of photographs of Glanville-Hicks with Sappho manuscript (possibly taken in Greece). Incomplete series of Lawrence Durrell and Glanville-Hicks working on the opera Sappho.

    Large photograph of Granville-Hicks in her New York apartment.


Various essays and personal artifacts collected by Glanville-Hicks, as well as address book and passports.


  1. Three essays by Yehudi Menuhin entitled; 'Art and Science as related concepts', 'An attempt to investigate possible influences of Indian classical music on our own own music in the future', and 'Project for consolidating and establishing our musical life on a solid basis'.

    A note by Thomas Merton entitled 'On solitude'. One essay entitled 'Musical explorers', copy of Peggy Glanville-Hicks favourite quote, small framed sketch bought by Granville-Hicks in India.

  2. Various magazines kept by Glanville-Hicks, some containing articles about her or Stanley Bate. Titles include: Flair, 1950; Hi-Fi music at home, 1955; The Queen, 1960; and Vogue, 1963.

  3. Passports and address book.
    United States of America passports with issue dates ranging from 1951-1980. Also included are various personal and professional addresses.

  4. 12 water colour sketches from Paul Bowles

Box List

Folio box
Folio box
Folio box