Peter McNamara


Peter McNamara (b. 1980) was born and educated in Sydney, and is one of Australia’s talented emerging composers. McNamara’s works have been commissioned and performed by a variety of major international orchestras and ensembles including Ensemble Modern, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Insomnio, Orchestra Victoria, Orkest de Ereprijs, Ensemble Offspring, Ensemble Phace, Dutch Orchestra & Ensemble Academy, Tokyo Sinfonietta, Ensemble Nomad and the ‘Stroma’ Ensemble.

His work has been commercially recorded for the inaugural Sideband CD in 2014, of which he was a co-producer, and the Kammerklang Alpha CD in 2013. His work has been performed at many international events including the 2008, 2010 and 2013 ISCM World New Music Days conferences in Lithuania, Sydney and Vienna, the 2008, 2009 and 2011 Gaudeamus Music Weeks in Amsterdam, the 30th anniversary concert of the Irino Foundation in 2010, held in Tokyo and the 2007 Asia Pacific Festival in New Zealand.

Composer website:


Perpetual Inertia, for large chamber ensemble.

The Australian composer Peter McNamara wrote Perpetual Inertia especially for the Dutch Ensemble and Orchestra Academy Ensemble of the 21st Century. The physical concept of eternal inertia, or ‘infinite energy’ in the words of McNamara, formed the inspiration for the work. This concept can be heard in the music through a very vigorous and rhythmic gesture in the dynamics. In the beginning this is noticeable by rapid movement between loud and soft on the note ‘E’. This motif develops during the course of the piece on other tones and with different rhythmic proportions between dynamics.

Featured in Long Waves – August 2016

The Styx, for percussion solo and chamber orchestra

The Styx for large chamber ensemble was written in 2008-9 for the “Kammerklang” project and Claire Edwardes as a solo percussionist. In ancient Greek mythology, the River Styx was the division between the land of the living and the land of the dead or the underworld, known as “Hades”. This work is influenced by some of the features and imagery of this mythological river.

Featured in Mythical Waves – April 2018

Distorted Waters, for Alto flute and cello.

The work’s title has a double meaning and refers to how various aural tricks are played on the listener as well as the state of water shortage in Australia at the time when the work was written. The listener’s aural expectations are frequently distorted by taking advantage of similar timbres between the Alto Flute and Cello such as harmonics, and often avoiding the registers of each instrument that posses distinctive tone colours.

Featured in Waves of Consciousness (February 2019)


Peter McNamara was interviewed for the Making Conversation: Australian Composers’ Podcast, Episode 8, 21/09/16.