Fonds GB 0210 WILIAS - William Mathias Music Manuscripts and Papers,

Identity area

Reference code



William Mathias Music Manuscripts and Papers,


  • 1950-1994 / (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.567 cubic metres (38 boxes); 1 box (August 2006); 2 folders (2020)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

William Mathias, musician and composer, was born in Whitland, Carmarthenshire, on 1 November 1934. He studied Music under Professor Ian Parrott at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1952-1956. In 1956 he won an open scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied composition with Lennox Berkeley and piano with Peter Katin. He was appointed Lecturer in the Music Department of the University College of North Wales, Bangor, in 1959, and remained there until 1968 when he left to take an appointment as Senior Lecturer in Music at Edinburgh University. In 1970 he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Music at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, and remained in that position until 1988 when he retired to concentrate on composition. He died at Y Graigwen, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, 29 July 1992. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 1965. In 1966 he became a Doctor of Music of the University of Wales, and in 1990 was elected a Fellow of the University. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by Westminster Choir College, Princeton, in 1987. In 1968 he was awarded the Arnold Bax Society Prize, and in 1982 the Guild for the Promotion of Welsh Music's John Edwards Memorial Award. He founded the North Wales Music Festival, based at St Asaph Cathedral, in 1972, and directed it until his death. He also helped to establish the Fishguard Festival in 1970. From 1961 he was a house composer with Oxford University Press. He was a member of: the Welsh Arts Council, 1974-1981, and chairman of the Music Committee, 1982-8; the Music Advisory Committee of the British Council, 1974-1983; the Incorporated Society of Musicians, 1976-1980, and president, 1979-1980; the BBC Central Music Advisory Committee, 1979-1986; the Welsh Advisory Committee of the British Council, 1979-1990; the Council of the Composers' Guild of Great Britain, from 1982. He was vice-president of the Royal College of Organists, 1985-1986, and chairman of the International Incorporated Society of Musicians in 1990. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in the 1985 New Year's Honours.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by his widow, Yvonne Mathias, and daughter, Rhiannon Mathias, 1994 (C1994/31 and C1994/106).
Further additions has been made since the original deposit, namely:
Additional material was received in 1995.
Two items on deposit was received from Mrs M. Y. Mathias and Miss Rhiannon Mathias, Menai Bridge, per Dr Simon Wright, Oxford (C1998/14), now known by their references as I 1b and K 18b.
Two items on deposit was received from Mrs Yvonne Mathias, Menai Bridge, per Ms Sarah Lewis, Editorial Assistant, Music Department, Oxford University Press, Oxford, January 2005 (0200500602 and 0200500609), now known by their reference as I 27a and I 28a.
One small archival box was donated by Ms Anna Smart, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, August 2006.
William Mathias Recordings was donated by Dr Rhiannon Mathias (William Mathias' daughter), Menai Bridge, July 2015.
One volume with accompanying letters purchased Blackwell's Rare Books, May 2019.
Purchased Blackwell's Rare Books, May 2020.
Donation Oxford University Press, September 2020.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Musical manuscripts and personal papers of William Mathias, including manuscript and published scores, 1950-1994; personal correspondence, 1972-1992; lectures and articles by him, 1972-1991; reviews, programmes, press releases, newsletters and ephemera relating to his work and honours awarded to him, 1952-1994; and correspondence of Yvonne Mathias relating mainly to performances of her husband's work, 1987-1994.

The five items deposited in 1995 was incorporated to the present structure and given E2d, B14c, K11b, K11c, and J1d as reference numbers.

Two items deposited in 1998 was incorporated to the present structure and given I1b and K18b as reference numbers.

Two items deposited in 2005 was incorporated to the present structure and given I27a and I28a as reference numbers.

An additional box of William Mathias's music manuscripts were received as a donation in August 2006. These manuscripts have been introduced at the end of the present structure as a Sub-fonds, entitled 2006 Donation, in February 2016.

William Mathias Recordings including reel to reel tapes, video tapes and vinyl records donated in July 2015 has been transferred to The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Action: All records have been retained..


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Arranged into the following: Music manuscripts (juvenilia, unpublished works, non Oxford University Press works, unfinished works; choral music; anthems; canticles; carols; vocal music; opera; music, dance; orchestral music; concertos; instrumental music, chamber music; organ) and Personal papers (correspondence to WM; correspondence from WM; correspondence to Yvonne Mathias; correspondence relating to miscellaneous matters; miscellaneous material relating to specific compositions; lectures and articles by WM; articles and reviews; press releases and newsletters; programmes; material relating to the Williams Ferris Chorale's visit to Cardiff, June 1986; material relating to WM's CBE, 1985; material relating to WM's Honorary Degree Ceremony, University of Wales, 1989; miscellaneous).

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

English, Welsh.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Project identifier


Alma system control number


Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

March 2003. Revised October 2019. Revised June 2021.


  • English



Archivist's note

Compiled by Annette Strauch for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, William Mathias Papers, 1994; Stevens Meic (ed.), The Arts in Wales (Welsh Arts Council, 1979);

Archivist's note

Catalogue later revised and amended by Robert Evans (2019 and 2021).

Accession area