Robert Watson Hughes AO MBE (27 March 1912 – 1 August 2007) was a Scottish-born Australian composer. His music has been characterised as muscular, assertive, pugnacious, with a dark, troubled, even driven quality; but it was also deeply sensitive, lyrical and tender. His capacity to view a complex landscape of diverse musical activity with clarity and with wisdom has been noted. He was said to have a unique understanding of tonality. His melodies are driven by short motives and unrelenting ostinato figures. He was fascinated by unorthodox divisions of tones and semitones in scales (an interest found in key 20th-century composers like Scriabin, Stravinsky, Bartók and Messiaen).Hughes wrote orchestral works (his 1951 Symphony has been described as the finest symphony composed by an Australian), music for ballet and film, some chamber works and an opera that has never been performed. While some of his works are available in published form, there are a number of well-crafted orchestral works that were recorded but never commercially published. Like other composers of his generation, including Dorian Le Gallienne, Raymond Hanson and Margaret Sutherland, Hughes has been considered by musicologists to write in a style reminiscent of the English pastoral school. However, Hughes listened to a wide range of music and surrounded himself with a variety of musical influences which included Debussy, Roussel, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Sibelius and Bartók (Wood, Thomas, and Drimatis 2009).Hughes was also a champion for other Australian composers, through roles that drew on his administrative skills. Ironically, his music has of recent times only infrequently been heard either in the concert hall or on recordings: it has become eclipsed by the compositions of the younger generation whose work he espoused. However, his music was earlier championed by many notable conductors including Sir Bernard Heinze, Sir Eugene Goossens, Willem van Otterloo, John Hopkins - and overseas by Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Norman Del Mar, Josef Krips, Walter Susskind, and Sir Colin Davis (Wood, Thomas, and Drimatis 2009). Other conductors who promoted his music include Joseph Post, Nikolai Malko, Hiroyuki Iwaki and Myer Fredman.