Gordon Hamilton


Gordon Hamilton

Described by conductor and broadcaster Graham Abbott as a “powerhouse of musical ideas,” Gordon Hamilton is one of Australia’s most exciting young composers.

As a composer, recent works by Gordon Hamilton subvert expectations of the orchestra by introducing foreign elements. He conducted his 2015 concerto for beatboxer and orchestra 'Thum Prints' at the 2016 BBC Proms AU with star beatboxer Tom Thum – a work which has since been taken up by numerous orchestras world-wide. Recently Gordon traveled to Antarctica to compose ‘Far South’, a symphony – to be premiered jointly by Tasmanian & Melbourne Symphony Orchestras and the London Mozart Players – in which field recordings of ice, ocean and whales interact with the orchestra. 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 (ultra short!) micro variations. In 'Action Hero' (commissioned by WDR Funkhausorchester Cologne) a Schwarzenegger speech plays through a speaker while the orchestra joins in. 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 Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, WDR Funkhausorchester (Cologne), the St. Christofer Chamber Orchestra (Lithuania), Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie (Konstanz), Nürnberger Symphoniker and the Malaysian Philharmonic. In 2019 he conducted the premiere of Nico Muhly’s Unexpected News with Omega Ensemble.

Gordon has arranged and conducted several crossover projects, including with Australian Hip Hop acts Horrorshow and Thundamentals, and with Cuban jazz 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." In 2019 he will conduct the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra at Dark Mofo Festival for ‘Riceboy Sleeps’ by Jónsi (of Sigur Rós) and Alex Sommers.

Also known for his work as a choral conductor and composer, 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 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 set of videos of musicalisations by composer Rob Davidson of political speeches, including 'Not Now, Not Ever!' – based on former PM Julia Gillard’s oft-quoted ‘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.