Peter McNamara is an award-winning Sydney-based composer gaining a reputation as one of Australia's most talented and innovative emerging voices. Born and educated in Sydney’s Western Suburbs, his work is particularly influenced by landscapes and the physics of the natural world and universe, and extends across a wide variety of musical genres including orchestral, chamber, electronic, installation and film composition. Between 1999 and 2011 he studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with composers such as Michael Smetanin, Bozidar Kos and Trevor Pearce, graduating with a PhD. He is currently an academic lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Excelsia College in Sydney and a co-artistic director of the Sideband Collective.
McNamara’s works have appeared at numerous international events including the 2008, 2010 and 2013 ISCM World New Music Days and the 2008, 2009 and 2011 Gaudeamus Music Weeks in the Netherlands, performed by leading international orchestras, ensembles and soloists including Ensemble Modern, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Insomnio, Orchestra Victoria, Elision, Ensemble Nomad, Orkest de Ereprijs, Ensemble Offspring, the Tokyo Sinfonietta, Ensemble Phace, the Stroma Ensemble and Sydney Symphony soloist Shefali Pryor.
McNamara has a growing number of works published by Wirripang Pty Ltd and Alexander Street Press. He also has a growing number of commissions from various artistic bodies and ensembles nationally and internationally. This includes Perpetual Inertia for the Dutch Orchestra and Ensemble Academy, Der Ost-Westspiegel for international accordion virtuoso James Crabb and The German Hills for Ensemble Offspring. In 2006 and 2012, he was the composer-in-residence at the Campbelltown Arts Centre.
McNamara’s work has also been commercially recorded by Australian virtuoso performers Claire Edwardes (The Styx, Kammerklang 2009) and Alicia Crossley (Duo-Generare, Duo-Blockstix 2017). He also co-initiated with fellow composers Tristan Coelho and Brad Gill the commercial CD recording projects Sideband in 2014, Sideband: The In-between in 2018, and Sideband: From the Depths in 2020, containing recordings of his chamber and electronic works Voltage, Cadenza II, Amplitude, White Noise, Voice of the Depths and At the Melting of the Snow.
Photograph by Deen van Meer
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