William Cade (often known as Bill Cade) was born in Adelaide in 1883. He studied at the Elder Conservatorium from 1899 to 1909, under Hermann Heinicke. From 1904 to 1910 he was a violinist and music teacher. He studied at the Max Pohl Conservatorium in Berlin in 1910, became the leader of the Quinlan Opera Company orchestra in London in 1911, and also studied with Sir Thomas Beecham. He returned to Adelaide in 1912 and married that year. For the next 16 years he was associated with J. C. Williamson's company, while also conducting cinema orchestras and the Theatre Royal Orchestra. From 1920 to 1928 he led the South Australian Orchestra. In 1929 he moved to Melbourne to lead the Regent and Plaza Theatres' orchestras, conducting over 7,000 times, and also became conductor of the Victorian Professional Symphony Orchestra, a group of 80 players. In 1929 he formed the Adelaide Wireless Chorus (later renamed the Adelaide Singers).
In 1934, he was the conductor of the Adelaide Studio Orchestra, which consisted of 17 players and performed light music for radio audiences. In 1936 it was increased in size by merging with players from the defunct South Australian Orchestra, and renamed the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. He led the orchestra for the next 12 years, until retiring in 1948. During this time he also conducted other Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) orchestras around Australia. After retirement he was appointed an Honorary Life Member of the Australian Musicians Union.
William Cade died in his home town in 1957, aged 74. He was survived by his wife and three daughters.
- Australian Dictionary of Biography: William Richard Cade
- Australian Dictionary of Biography
- Atkinson, Knight, McPhee, The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia
- Robert Brown, Theatre Orchestras
- South Australian Orchestral History and Flute Players from 1920 to 1973
- Robert Brown, The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra