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The Australian National University

Dr Natalie Williams

Doctor of Music (Indiana), Master of Music (Melbourne), Bachelor of Music, Hons. (Adelaide), Associate Diploma of Music (Australian Music Examinations Board)
Lecturer in Composition and Music Theory, Convenor of Composition
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Music Composition 190406
  • Performing Arts And Creative Writing Not Elsewhere Classified 190499
  • Musicology And Ethnomusicology 190409

Research interests


Applied Composition, compositional pedagogy

Counterpoint (specialty in twentieth-century literature)



Twentieth-Century Music Theory

Form and Analysis

Music Theory, undergraduate sequence

Music Theory, fundamentals

Composition and Music Theory Pedagogy



Natalie Williams is an Australian composer and academic. Her music has been commissioned and performed by international ensembles including the Atlanta Opera, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, the Melbourne, Adelaide, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Musica Viva Australia, and the Plathner's Eleven Chamber Ensemble (Germany).

Her works have been presented at international composition festivals including the Florida State University, International New Music Festival (2015), the International Trumpet Guild new music recitals program (Pennsylvania 2014), the Midwest Composers Symposium (Ohio 2010), the Society of Composers, Inc. National Conference (Indiana 2014), the 17th World Saxophone Congress (France 2015), and the Cybec Foundation's Metropolis New Music Festival with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Melbourne 2005).

In 2015 Natalie was a visiting scholar at the University of Sydney under the International Visiting Research Fellowship scheme. In 2016 and 2017 she was invited to present a keynote session and lecture series in Twentieth-Century Counterpoint and post-tonal analysis at the Melbourne Music Analysis Summer School.

Academic teaching positions include, the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Further academic training in music pedagogy was completed at the Eastman School of Music (2014) and at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2016). Professional development work was completed with the Society for Music Analysis (UK) at Durham University in 2010, and at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris with the European American Musical Alliance (2007).

Natalie is a fully represented composer with the Australian Music Centre and a member of the Australasian Performing Rights Association. She also serves on the boards of the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM), and with the Society of Composers, Inc.



Researcher's projects


Prof. Gary Karpinski, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

14-18 August 2017

Professor Karpinski has published articles on aural skills, theory pedagogy, early twentieth-century music, and computer-assisted instruction in Music Theory Spectrum, Music Theory Online, The International Journal of Musicology, and The Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy. His research interests include music theory pedagogy, aural skills acquisition, music cognition and perception, and Schenkerian Analysis.

Supported by the Research School of Humanities and the Arts.

Prof. Chen Yi, University of Missouri-Kansas City

26 April - 5 May 2017

Professor Chan Yi is the recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001. She is the Cravens/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and UMKC Kaufmann Award in Faculty Service (2012) and was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005.

Supported by the Research School of Humanities and the Arts.

Barry Green, University of California Santa Cruz

20-24 March 2017

Author of "The Inner Game of Music" renowned pedagogue and instrumental coach for young musicians, Barry Green will visit the Australian National University, School of Music for intensive workshops with student performers and composers.

Supported by the Research School of Humanities and the Arts.

Dr. Dave Eggar

23-28 October 2016

Three-time Grammy nominee Dave Eggar visited the Australian National University, School of Music for intensive workshops, coaching, performance classes and seminars with students and faculty. A graduate of Harvard University and the Juilliard School of Music, Eggar has worked with artists such as Coldplay, Joshua Bell, Norah Jones and Paul Simon.

Supported by the Research School of Humanities and the Arts.





KEYNOTE LECTURE - Music of Women Composers in the Twentieth-Century

20-24 November, 2017

Melbourne Music Analysis Summer School keynote presentation on the contrapuntal works of women composers in the twentieth-century literature.

CONFERENCE PAPER - Historical Definitions of Counterpoint

8-10 December, 2017

Musicological Society of Australia joint annual conference with New Zealand Musicological Society.

Supported by the Research School of Humanities and the Arts.

CONFERENCE PAPER - The Forgotten Teacher: Maintaining Musical Sketches in a Digital Age

29 September 2017

International Association of Music Librarians annual conference. National Library of Australia.

KEYNOTE LECTURE - Twentieth-Century Counterpoint

20-24 November, 2016

Melbourne Music Analysis Summer School (Medley Hall, Melbourne)

A keynote lecture plus a four-lecture course in post-tonal music theory and analysis  presented at the second MMASS school. Analysis of works by Webern, Crumb, Ligeti and Lutoslawski comprise lectures in post-tonal analysis, symmetrical forms, Micropolyphony and Aleatoric Counterpoint.

Supported by the Research School of Humanities and the Arts.

CONFERENCE DIRECTOR - Women in the Creative Arts 

10-12 August 2017

This groundbreaking international conference brought together researchers from across the creative arts disciplines for investigation into the work of artists who identify as women. Hosted by the Australian National University, School of Music.

Supported by the Gender Institute and the College of Arts & Social Sciences at the Australian National University, and the Australia Council for the Arts.



The Australia Ensemble, Sydney (new chamber work)

Commission for a new chamber piece, "Letters to Clara Schumann" for performance on 12 May 2018, University of New South Wales.



Canberra Symphony Orchestra (new chamber work)

Commission for a new saxophone choir piece, for the 2018 Australian Series on 17 May 2018, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.


New Australian Music for Carillon (new creative work)

Part of a group of ten specially-commissioned Australian composers, Williams will compose a new work for the Canberra Carillon, for performance in Canberra in 2017 and at the World Carillon Federation Congress in Barcelona, July 2017.

Supported by funding from the Music Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, and the National Capital Authority.

Available student projects


An innovative educational project connecting the Australian National University School of Music, with Music for Canberra and local schools through the ANU Music Engagement program.

Canberra school children create short melodies, working with the ANU Music Engagment Program. The melodies are set by ANU School of Music student composers, for the Canberra Youth Orchestra, for public performance.


- Music for Canberra

- ANU School of Music Engagement Program

- School of Music, Australian National University

Supported by a grant from the  Linkage for Learning and Teaching Scheme, from the Centre for Higher Education, Learning & Teaching at the Australian National University.

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Updated:  19 December 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers