Dr Graham Williams meditation teacher

Dr Graham Williams

Music Biography

Graham trained as a concert pianist, scholar and teacher and was the first to graduate with a Ph.D in music from the University of Adelaide. He has made a specialty of twentieth century music and has known and given first performances of the music of many of Australia's leading composers. He gained a Commonwealth Postgraduate Award along with the Elder Organ Scholarship. The award of the valuable French Government Scholarship, which he gratefully acknowledges as being crucial in his development, enabled him to study in Paris for three years.

He graduated from Adelaide with B.Mus (hons), Ph.D., Grad. Dip.Ed. and Dip.T. and then in Paris gained the Concert Degree of the Ecole Normale de Paris.

His teachers in Adelaide were Lance Dossor for piano, Professor Andrew McCredie for musicology and Richard Meale and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for composition and analysis.

He had the unique opportunity of studying in Paris with both the great French composer Olivier Messiaen and his wife, the highly esteemed pianist, Yvonne Loriod, and he pursued his studies with them for three years.

Graham has taught at the University of Adelaide for over twenty years both in the classical and jazz schools as well as teaching privately.




His publications include his Doctoral Dissertation: The Theories of Olivier Messiaen: Their Origins and Their Application in his Piano Music

and the books:
Scales and Arpeggios for the Jazz Piano; with Michael Furstner, published by M. Furstner, 1990.

Insight and Love: an introduction to insight meditation –  a practical way to become free from emotional conflict –  with selected essays – a guide to the Tibetan mind training tradition, Lifeflow Publications, first published in 1988, reprinted 1994, revised edition 2007.

The Only Security is Letting Go; Lifeflow Publications, first published in 1988, reprinted 1994, revised edition 2007.

Life in Balance, The Lifeflow Guide to Meditation –  a practical Australian handbook for understanding and getting what you want from your meditation practice. Lifeflow Publications 2008.

At present he is writing a series of four books on meditation.

He also published two articles on Messiaen:
Messiaen and the Philosophy of Time; Miscellanea Musicologica, 1976.
The Myth of Tristan and Isolde according to Messiaen; Miscellanea Musicologica, in press.

Graham provided the libretto for Ross Edwards' Quem Quaeritis (1969) and also the images (Australian adaptations of Tibetan visualisations) on which Ross based four of the five movements of his fifth symphony The Promised Land (2004-5)

He was invited to speak at conferences for both the International and Australian Societies for Music Education and for the Australian Musicological Association.

He has been the keynote presenter at both the Music Teachers’ Association and University of Adelaide Summer Schools and has give numerous master classes at the Elder Conservatorium, in schools, interstate and internationally.

CDs and recordings

He has released three CDs and has recorded for Australian and French radio.

The CDs are:
Reflections in Water, piano music of Debussy, Chopin and Liszt, 2004.
My Heart Keeps Watch, piano music of Olivier Messiaen, 2005.
The meditation CD, Experience Yourself, four guided meditations, 2002.

He was the accompanist for Zdenek Bruderhans: The Fabulous Flute, Aquitaine Records, 1980
He was the pianist in recordings for the ABC of Adelaide Festival commissions from Nigel Butterley, Don Banks and Richard Meale. Graham wrote and presented the program Messiaen at 70 for the ABC, and the program Messiaen my Teacher for Radio Adelaide. Many of his Elder Hall Recitals were broadcast by Radio Adelaide and he has given interviews for the BBC, Radio Adelaide and commercial radio. He also made several recordings of premieres of American and Canadian composers for French National Radio.


Graham's performances include numerous concerts in Australia of world premieres of works by Australian composers including Richard Meale, Ross Edwards, Nigel Butterley, Grahame Koehne, Don Banks, Graham Hair, Martin Wesley-Smith, Vincent Plush. He gave the Australian premiere of Messiaen's La Nativité du Seigneur for organ and has given many first performance of Messiaen's piano music in Australia. He has given numerous recitals for the Adelaide Festival and Recitals Australia and worked with Robert Helpmann and the Australian Ballet for the Adelaide Festival. He has given world premieres of works in Paris along with recitals at the Sorbonne University, the Cité Internationale des Arts and the Australian Embassy. He has traveled extensively giving concerts particularly in Europe and Canada.


Graham's piano students include first prize winners in international, national and local competitions, winners of overseas scholarships and awards, winners of Australian grants and awards, the Churchill Fellowship and Australia Council Fellowship. They have pursued careers in music direction in national and international theatre, orchestral management in the USA, solo and chamber music performance in Europe and America, jazz performance and university teaching in Australia and the USA. Many students have traveled from interstate especially to study with Graham and learn the specialized piano techniques which he has developed.


Michael Furstner's JazClass
Graham collaborated with Michael Furstner in writing a book for jazz pianists.

Bonnie Brown
Bonnie Brown, former student of Graham, performs and teaches in Paris.

Coady Green
Coady Green, former student of Graham, teaches at the University of London and performs in London.

Ashley Hribar
Ashley Hribar, former student of Graham, gained first prize in a European competition for new classical music.

Click here for Graham's meditation biography.

Graham Williams ... is an excellent musician and an extremely cultured man of great intelligence.

Olivier Messiaen, French Composer

Graham Williams has the great human qualities of patience, humility, dedication and kindness.

Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, Concert Pianist, Paris.

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