Gordon Hamilton / composer

composer / conductor

composer / conductor

...a superbly judged musical vernacular from Hamilton, blending traditionally conceived orchestral textures with more hard-edged gestures... wildly entertaining, innovative and brilliantly unconventional...
— Limelight Magazine on 'Thum Prints'
One of the QSO’s secret weapons is Gordon Hamilton, a musical chameleon with bonafides in the territories of Hip Hop and Classical music.
— ArtsHub
 (Photo: Pat O'Neill)

(Photo: Pat O'Neill)

As a composer, several recent works by Gordon Hamilton subvert expectations of the orchestra. He conducted his 2015 beatbox concerto 'Thum Prints' at the 2016 BBC Proms AU with beatboxer Tom Thum and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO). His 2014 work 'Ghosts in the Orchestra' places a choir among the orchestral players, prompting them with sung instructions. In his '482 Variations on a Very Short Theme' (2016) a brief Beatles recording plays; the orchestra latches onto three notes, spinning them out into 482 (extremely short!) micro variations. In 'Action Hero' (commissioned by the West German Funkhausorchester) an Arnold Schwarzenegger speech plays through a speaker while the orchestra plays along. In 2018 he won accolades for 'Macquarie', an orchestral-hiphop collaboration with rapper-poet Luka Lesson which interrogates the legacy of the famous Scottish Major General Lachlan Macquarie.

In recent seasons Gordon has conducted the Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and the St. Christofer Chamber Orchestra (Lithuania). In 2018-19, Gordon will conduct the WDR Funkhausorchester (Cologne), the Southwest German Philharmonic (Konstanz), the Nürnberger Symphoniker, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the NSO Symphony Orchestra (Dubai) and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Gordon has a special focus and aptitude for choral music, bringing out a striking crispness of delivery. He has conducted Handel's Messiah and Faure's Requiem with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Gordon has arranged and conducted several crossover projects, including with Australian Hiphop duo Horrorshow and Cuban pianist Marialy Pacheco. Arts Hub has described him as "one of the QSO's secret weapons … with bonafides in the territories of Hip Hop and Classical music."

After freelancing for five years in Germany, Gordon took over in 2009 as Artistic Director of one of Australia’s foremost vocal ensembles, The Australian Voices (TAV). Gordon has led TAV in its mission of commissioning innovative new music by Australian composers. Of their 2013 concert in New York City, the New York Times wrote "... it was as if the gates of heaven had opened." They have released albums with Warner Classics (2013) and ABC Classics (2016) as well as a songbook with Edition Peters (2013). Gordon's choral opera 'MOON' (2011) toured with TAV to Australia, Germany and to the Edinburgh Fringe and was named by The Herald Scotland as “one of the outstanding musical surprises of Fringe 2012.” In 2014 TAV made international headlines with their video of Rob Davidson's 'Not Now, Not Ever!' – a musicalisation of former PM Julia Gillard’s famous ‘misogyny’ speech. 

Originally from Newcastle, Gordon studied at the University of Newcastle Conservatorium (2000-4) under esteemed composer Nigel Butterley. He is a represented composer at the Australian Music Centre.


BRIEF VERSION

As a composer, several recent works by Gordon Hamilton subvert expectations of the orchestra, including 'Thum Prints' (for beatboxer Tom Thum and orchestra, 2015) and '482 Variations on a Very Short Theme' (2016). His 'Action Hero' (2016) pairs the recorded voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger with orchestra.

In 2018-19, Gordon will conduct the WDR Funkhausorchester, the Nürnberger Symphoniker, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Gordon has arranged and conducted several crossover projects, including with Hiphop duo Horrorshow and Cuban pianist Marialy Pacheco. In 2018 he collaborated with rapper-poet Luka Lesson on 'Macquarie', an orchestral-hiphop interrogation of the legacy of Lachlan Macquarie.

After freelancing for five years in Germany, Gordon took over in 2009 as Artistic Director of The Australian Voices (TAV). Of their 2013 concert in New York City, the New York Times wrote "... it was as if the gates of heaven had opened." Gordon's choral opera 'MOON' (2011) toured with TAV to Australia, Germany and to the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2014 TAV made international headlines with their video of Rob Davidson's 'Not Now, Not Ever!' – a musicalisation of former PM Julia Gillard’s famous ‘misogyny’ speech.


Download hi-res press shots here.