Celebrating 100 years of music publishing

12 August 2023
3 min read

Under the leadership of OUP’s pioneering Music Editor, Hubert Foss, our first dedicated music publishing list was created in June 1923. Since then, our publishing has grown, making us one of the world’s leading music publishers, a position that we celebrate to this day.

Hubert Foss, embraced publishing choral music, large-scale concert works and music education materials. Throughout the 100 years, we have celebrated many milestones with some key highlights including:

  • Publishing the works of world-renowned composers, such as Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Walton. Both provided music for the Coronation of George VI (1937) and the Coronation of Elizabeth II (1953), some of which was used at the Coronation of King Charles III this year.
  • The hugely successful Carols for Choirs series has become the essential resource for Christmas choral music in both concerts and churches. It was through this series that John Rutter – one of our most successful composers today – began working with us. His music continues to bring joy and inspiration to audiences and listeners worldwide.
  • In our educational output, Piano Time and String Time books are some of our most popular series for instrumental teaching, supporting the next generation of learners as they begin their musical journeys.
  • The success of OUP’s composers continues with Sarah Quartel, Cecilia McDowall, Mack Wilberg, Marques Garrett, and Reena Esmail, who have recently received substantial success and acclaim.

To mark the centenary and to demonstrate our increasingly diverse catalogue, we will be publishing a series of centenary publications throughout 2023, including the recently published The Oxford Book of Choral Music by Black Composers and our upcoming Carols for Choirs 6.

Reflecting on the past century, and looking forward to the next, Robyn Elton, Head of Publishing – Music, said: 

“I am incredibly lucky to be in a role that allows me to spend much of my time looking at, listening to, and talking about music. I’m proud of our legacy of publishing market-leading material, and I hope the ten centenary titles we’re releasing this year demonstrate an ongoing commitment to music that is not only relevant to today but also looks to the future.”

We have created a playlist on Spotify to showcase what 100 years of our music publishing sounds like. You can listen to some of our favourite works here.

Related articles