Isaac Nathan is called the “father of Australian music”. He immigrated to Australia in 1841. Before that time he worked with a music publisher (Domenico Corri), and was a singing teacher of Princess Charlotte. He also published settings of tunes from synagogue usage and persuaded Lord Byron to provide the words for these. These resulted in the poet’s famous Hebrew Melodies.
He emigrated to Australia in 1841 where he became a leader of local musical life, acting as music adviser both to the synagogue and to the Roman Catholic cathedral in Sydney. He gave first or early performances in Australia of many of the works of Mozart and Beethoven. On 3 May 1847 his “Don John of Austria”, the first opera to be written, composed and produced in Australia, was performed at the Victoria Theatre, Sydney. Nathan was also the first to research and transcribe indigenous Australian music.
Isaac Nathan died in a tram accident. He was Australia’s (indeed the southern hemisphere’s) first tram fatality.