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William James

William Garnet "Billy" James (28 August 1892 – 10 March 1977) was an Australian pianist and composer and a pioneer of music broadcasting in Australia.

James was born in Ballarat in 1892. He studied piano at the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music, graduating in 1912. On the recommendation of the visiting pianist Teresa Carreño, he headed overseas to study in London and Brussels with Arthur De Greef, a former pupil of Franz Liszt and Camille Saint-Saëns. It is around this period that James composed his Six Australian Bush Songs, which were dedicated to Dame Nellie Melba.

After being rejected for military service, James worked for the British Red Cross Society during the First World War. In 1915, he made his public debut as a pianist with the Queen's Hall Orchestra. By this time he had begun to publish his compositions, and in 1916 his ballet music By Candlelight was performed in concert at the Savoy Theatre, London.

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