Graham Whettam Archive

Scope and Content

Papers of the composer Graham Whettam comprising printed editions of his compositions (there are no original manuscripts), a few recordings, and correspondence with conductors, radio stations, publishers etc mainly concerning promoting thepublishing and performing of his music.

Administrative / Biographical History

Graham Whettam (7 September 1927 – 17 August 2007) was an English post-romantic composer. He was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, and studied at St Luke's College, Exeter. Though he never formally studied at a music school and was largely self-taught,several of his compositions had already been performed by major orchestras and soloists by his twenties. He was married to Rosemary Atkinson from 1948 until their divorce in 1958, at which time he moved to Coventry. While there, he married JanetLawrence in 1959, and later founded and directed his own publishing company, "Meriden Music". In 1962 he wrote his first work to be critically considered a "masterpiece", Sinfonia contra timore (Symphony Against Fear), premiered three years later bythe City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Though Sinfonietta Stravagante (1964) and Sinfonia Concertante (1966) followed in rapid succession, Whettam did not continue to have the success of his youth; several of his works were premiered/publishedsome time after their composition, and some of his later works (such as the Promethean Symphony and the Symphony No. 5) still wait for a world premiere. Regarded as "a natural symphonist" by the Sunday Times, the dozen symphonies he composed between his mid-twenties and death form the core of Whettam's output. However, he also contributed some large-scale concertos, several shorter orchestral works, numerouschamber and instrumental works, as well as vocal and choral works. Whettam died on 17 August 2007 in Woolaston, Gloucestershire, aged 79.


  • A. Compositions
  • B. Recordings
  • C. Correspondence
  • D. Promotional Information

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the Royal Northern College of Music 24 July 2016 (Acc No Misc.2015/16:178)

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assistwhere possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.