The Firebird - Finale Igor Stravinsky
Classic FM looks back at some of the eminent musicians who've been the Masters of Music to Kings and Queens since 1625
Salford lad Peter Maxwell Davies is the incumbent Master of the Queen's Music having been appointed to the post in 2004.
Davies' appointment as Master of the Queen's Music was controversial at the time as the composer was a vocal republican. But eight years on from taking the post, Davies admits he is now all in favour of the monarchy, telling the Daily Telegraph in 2010 "I have come to realise that there is a lot to be said for the monarchy. It represents continuity, tradition and stability."
Davies was the first Master of the Queen's Music not to be appointed for life. He was given the post for 10 years and is due to leave in 2014.
Australian Malcolm Williamson became the first non-Briton to hold the post Master of the Queen's Music when he was appointed in 1975.
Williamson was particularly interested in encouraging young people to become involved in music, and composed several short operas for children, including one based on Oscar Wilde's short story, The Happy Prince.
Williamson's appointment as Master of the Queen's Music came as a surprise to many who believed that it would go to an eminent British composer such as Malcolm Arnold. Controversy continued to dog his years as Master of the Queen's Musick when whispers of royal displeasure at his failure to finish the Jubilee Symphony he was expected to deliver for the Silver Jubilee in 1977 were leaked.
Arthur Bliss became the 18th Master of the Queen’s Music in 1953, the year of the Queen’s Coronation. He composed the Processional for the Coronation for the occasion - his first official duty.
In 1913 Bliss studied at the Royal College of Music for a year where his teachers included Ralph Vaughan Williams (pictured with Bliss) and Gustav Holst . After leaving RCM he signed up to fight in the First World War.
Bliss wrote his final cantata, Shield of Faith the year before his death in 1975. The piece celebrated 500 years of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle with Bliss setting poems chosen from each of the five centuries of the Chapel's existence to his music.
Arnold Bax was appointed Master of the King's Music in 1942 during George VI's reign and held the post until his death in 1953.
During his five years at the Royal Academy of Music, Bax became interested in the poetry of W.B. Yeats that sparked a love affair with Ireland and Irish and Celtic culture that continued to his last days. He died while in holiday in Cork. Bax himself wrote poetry under the pseudonym Dermot O'Byrne.
One of his final works was the Coronation March in celebration of the Queen's coronation in June 1953.
Walford Davies held the title of Master of the King's Music for just seven years from 1934 until his death in 1941. He is buried in the grounds of Bristol Cathedral.
Davies took up the position of Organist of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle in 1927 after the death of his mentor Sir Walter Parratt.
Davies was taught by and was an assistant to another Master of the King's Music, Walter Parratt for five years before studying at the Royal College of Music in 1890 where his teachers included Hubert Parry (pictured) and Charles Villiers Stanford.
Edward Elgar became Master of the King's Music in 1924 at the age of 68 although he gained royal favour over twenty years before when he was asked to adapt his Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 for King Edward VII's coronation in 1901.
Elgar's most famous piece 'Land of Hope and Glory' formed part of the resulting Coronation Ode. Elgar adapted the melody from his original piece and asked poet and essayist A.C Benson to write to accompany the piece after the King suggested the refrain would work well with lyrics. It is claimed that Elgar wasn't a big fan of having words added to his instrumental piece.
Elgar's music was largely considered unfashionable by the time he was made Master of the King's Music, and he had slipped away from the public eye. But he was still writing, and composed and wrote his Empire March and eight songs Pageant of Empire for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition.
Walter Parratt was appointed Master of the Queen's Musick to Queen Victoria (pictured here with Prince Albert) in 1893 and held the post under two other monarchs: King Edward VII and Geroge V.
Born in Huddersfield, Parratt's father was a parish organist who inspired his son to learn the pipe organ from an early age and he was became something of a child prodigy. Parratt was given the post organist of before taking over from Hubert Parry as Heather Professor of Music at Oxford University (pictured) in 1908.
Unusually for a Master of Musick, Parratt did very little composing, his influence stemmed from his formidable talent as an organist and a teacher.
William Cusins was appointed Master of the Queen's Musick by Queen Victoria (pictured) in 1870. He is the only Master of Musick to become a 'sir' during his time in the role when he was knighted by the Queen in 1892.
Cusins produced editions of Robert Schumann's (pictured) piano music. His works as a composer include Royal Wedding Serenata (1863), concert overture Les Travailleurs de la mer (1869), the oratorio Gideon (produced Gloucester, 1871), overture to William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost (1875), Piano Concerto in A minor, marches and songs.
Cusins died of 'flu in France in 1893 at the age of 60 and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
George Frederick Anderson was a British violinist who was made Master of the Queen's Musick in 1848.
Despite being given the Master of Musick post for life, he stepped down in mysterious circumstances in 1870 , the first one to do so since Nicholas Staggins in 1700.
His wife, Lucy Philpot, a talented pianist, taught Queen Victoria's children piano after their marriage.
Violinist and conductor Franz Cramer was made Master of the Queens Musick in 1837, the year Queen Victoria succeeded William IV.
Little is known about him, other than that he was the son of famous violinist and conductor Wilhelm Cramer.
The only composition of Cramer's that has survived is a Capriccio (Album Leaf) for violin, which is in manuscript in the British Museum (pictured).
Christian Kramer,a composer, arranger and musician, was Master of the King's Musick between 1829 and 1834. He served under two kings; George IV and William IV.
German-born Kramer was a court musician at the time of George IV and eventually went on to lead the King's personal orchestra.
According to A Dictionary of Musical Information of 1876 he was "a composer of great ability", but none of his compositions remain.
William Shield was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1817 during George III's reign.
Shield wrote a large number of operas but is best known for his comic opera Rosina, a retelling of the biblical story of Ruth set in the North of England.
One of the pieces in the opera is the tune of 'Auld Lang Syne' which led some to argue that he wrote the tune. But music scholars believe that it's an old folk song that neither Shield, nor Robert Burns who it's often credited to, wrote the original.
Sir William Parsons was an English composer and musician who was Master of the King's Musick under George III (pictured) between 1786 and 1817.
Parsons was a chorister at Westminster Abbey, but despite being a talented tenor, he never made it professional after being passed over in favour of another singer at the Royal Opera House.
He was knighted in 1795 by Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, John Jeffreys Pratt, second Earl Camden (pictured), becoming the first British musician to be honoured with the decoration.