Gordon Hamilton / composer

composer / conductor

composer / conductor

Full scores downloadable. To order parts, please contact Gordon.


6 min / commissioned by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra [or 3*.3*.3*.3*] –[opt.] – 4 pc. – timp. – hp. – pf. – audio track – str.


A brief Beatles recording plays out of a speaker... the orchestra latches onto three notes, spinning them out into 482 (extremely short!) micro variations.

THUM PRINTS (2015–18)

For beatboxer & orchestra / commissioned by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Full Orch. (2*.2.2*.2-; or Chamber Orch. ( [2.2.2..1.1]); or String Orch.

Duration: 20 min ('concerto' version); or 60 min ('show' version)

Score | Website

A concerto for beatboxer and orchestra, featuring Tom Thum, a magnificently-talented dude with an inexhaustible vocal inventory of glorious and weird noises. Together we've smooshed the opposing forces of the orchestra and Tom's mouth, aiming for imaginative and surprising colours. The piece can be performed as a 20 min concerto, or as a full 60 min show. Available for chamber or full orchestra.


7 min / for string orchestra (min.

Score | Purchase

A portrait of Florence Bay, Magnetic Island: the effort in getting there, especially cycling uphill (sweaty work, even in winter!)… the arc of the bay comes into view, excitement, immense freedom and peace at heart… snorkelling… gentle waves… a baby stingray… no turtles though… rock wallabies on the headland. A good day!

FAR SOUTH (2018-19)

18-25 min / for joint premiere by Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras and the London Mozart Players

for recorded sounds and orchestra of any size (str. + any 4 soloists + other instruments)



I wrote Far South during and after a trip to Casey Station, Antarctica onboard the icebreaker Aurora Australis. Recordings of birds, whales, ice melting and the Icebreaker interact with the orchestra. The work is for strings, with any four solo instruments spread though (the pick of which is left to the players or leader). I also invite other instruments to band together – thus the ensemble might stretch from a small string group to a vast cast of sound-makers. Four soloists break up the smoothness with airings of individuality. The conductor is optional. Read my blog post here.


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5 min / for Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Score [archive recording available on request]

Opposites is a a short piece where lots of opposite things happen: high and low (pitch);
loud and soft (dynamics); fast and slow (tempo); detached and smooth (articulation); solo and everyone (instrumentation); forwards and backwards (time); bright and dark (colour);
divisive and additive (rhythm); consonant and dissonant (harmony).


7 min / commissioned by WDR Funkhausorchester

2*.2*.2*.2* –[opt.] – 2 pc. – timp. – hp. – str.


A wildly energetic jazz overture, a virtuosic reimagining of John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’. 

Macquarie (2018)

for rapper and orchestra / 19 min / commissioned by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

1*.1.1.basscl.1.contra.- (; or 2*.2.2*.2*-


This orchestral-hiphop piece interrogates the legacy of Lachlan Macquarie the Scottish military officer who served as Governor of New South Wales. The work highlights the mistreatment of Australia's first people, and draw parallels with contemporary injustices. "...a harrowing piece exploring the realities and romanticisms of Lachlan Macquarie... Truthfully, I’m just not sure anything could follow ‘Macquarie’ and garner the same attention and awe as its predecessor... never doubt an orchestra’s ability to kick ass." – Kyley Thompson for Scenestr.com.


Notebook Symphony (2017)

12 min / commissioned by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra – – perc. – str.

Score [archive recording available on request]

A mini symphony: three pithy movements, each lasting about four minutes and expressing very contrasting moods: a bright and cheerful rondo; a pensive chorale for strings alone; and a relentless dance including optional synth.

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6 min / commissioned by Alondra de la Parra for the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas

3*.3*.3*.3* – – 2 pc. – timp. – hp. – voice – str.


'Outer Landscape' is scored for orchestra with solo overtone singer (a type of multiphonic for the voice).


10 min / for orchestra & recorded Arnold Schwarzenegger, commissioned by the WDR Funkhausorchester Cologne (Frank Strobel, Conductor)

2*.2.2.2* – – 2 pc. – timp. – hp. – laptop – str.

Score | Video

An Arnold Schwarzenegger speech plays through a speaker. The orchestra plays along, transforming Arny into a singer, emphasising the musical qualities of his voice.

Ghosts in the Orchestra (2014)

20 min / for choir and orchestra / commissioned by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra – – 2pc. – hp. – timp. – chorus – str.

Score | Blog Post | Video Excerpt

A choir stands mysteriously among the orchestral players, issuing sung instructions. The orchestra enthusiastically complied, unrolling the commandments into bursts of sound.


12 min / commissioned by the Queensland Youth Orchestra

3*.3*.3*.3* – – 4 pc. – timp. – hp. – str.


Each of the three movements is based on the same tune: G Db C F E G Ab. While the theme remains the same across all three movements, no actual inter-movement repetition occurs. The result is (I hope) a sparkly concert overture in three sections. The first movement, ‘Snap’ there is snap pizzicato everywhere, hopefully with minimal injury to instruments and players. Rhythmic riffs are set up, repeated and continually push into new variations, without ever revisiting previous riffs.

The Trillion Souls (2015)

25 min / for choir, soli and orchestra / commissioned by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

2*.2.2.2 – – 2pc. – hp. – timp. – synth – SATB soli – chorus – str.

Score | Blog Post

A symphony for marriage equality on a text by Andy West. The work quotes Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, including an inversion of the Ode to Joy theme.

Dulce et decorum est (2015)

7 min / for choir and orchestra / commissioned by The Portsmouth Grammar School for premiere by the London Mozart Players. – – 1 pc. – timp. – hp. – organ – chorus – str.

Score | Audio Excerpt

Based on the famous Wilfred Owen poem, the choir is a column of soldiers: ‘Bent double, like old beggars under sacks'. Their trudging and trips are low pizzicato and a bass drum. A gas attack sends them into a spiral of confusion as one man dies ‘guttering, choking, drowning.’ The piece is a an elegiac passacaglia: the same harmonic structure repeats with various changes in mood.

Natural Selections (concerto for turntables & orchestra, 2016)

40 min / commissioned by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra / co-composed with Sampology. – – 1 pc. – turntables. – str. (

Score Sample | Excerpt 'Birds and Frogs' | Excerpt 'Wood and Bells'

A work for turntables, projector and orchestra inspired by sounds and images of the natural world. The orchestra interacts with synchronized sound and vision, bursting through speakers and screen with, all triggered by drum pads and turntables. Featuring turntablist Sampology

The Ugly Sound: A Retelling of 'The Ugly Duckling' (2016)

7 min / for narrator & orchestra, commissioned by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra – – 1 pc. – hp. – nar. – str.

View the score | Hire parts

A re-imagining of ‘The Ugly Duckling’, in which all the characters are sounds, not animals! The Ugly Sound goes through life facing rejection. All of the other sounds are more beautiful and popular: some have rhythm, others melody, harmony and colour which make them appealing. Dejected, the Ugly Sound runs away, believing it can never fit in. Along its journey, the story helps unravel the internal features of the sound, letting us hear it from different angles. The Ugly Sound transforms into a beautiful, mature version of itself… a swan! The piece contains a positive message about self-esteem and openness to unfamiliar sounds. 

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Paraphrase on 'Cielito Lindo' (2017)

4 min / commissioned by Alondra de la Parra for the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas

3*.2.3*.2 – – timp. – 4 pc. – hp. – str.


A re-imaginging of Mexico's most famous song... "Ay ay ay ay!" (Commissioned by Alondra de la Parra in 2017 for La Filarmonica de las Americas.)

DanZÓn CUBANO (2016)

25 min / for orchestra and jazz trio / commissioned by the WDR Funkhausorchester Cologne for premiere with pianist Marialy Pacheco.

2*.2*.2*.2*. – – timp. – 4 pc. – hp. – jazz trio – str.


Four movements for orchestra and jazz trio, based on tunes by Cuban pianist Marialy Pacheco.