Philip Eames


An active composer and pianist with a penchant for 20th/21st century repertoire, Philip Eames draws on a wide range of influences to create music marked by curious vitality and layered symbolism.

Most notably as a pianist, Philip was a category finalist in the 2010 ABC Young Performers Awards, and as a composer he has received a wide range of commissions and collaborations including the Australian National Piano Award, Queensland Ballet, and The Australian Voices.

In 2017 he completed a PhD focusing on the choral polyphony of Percy Grainger at the Sydney Conservatorium, where he is now a sessional lecturer in musicology. He also holds two Master of Music degrees with a scholarship from the Royal Northern College of Music and the Queensland Conservatorium, where he studied piano with Dr Max Olding.

Composer website:

Featured Works

Spiders! Spiders! Spiders! Spiders!, for string quartet. 3rd movement.

Spiders! Spiders! Spiders! Spiders!, Op.9, is a non-programmatic work in four movements and scored for string quartet. The piece as a whole was intended to perversely treat that particular ensemble as a highly rhythmical, more percussion-like ensemble, rather than the melodic, harmonic and intonation-focused group that it is.

This was inspired by a PhD study in the UK my percussion quartet was asked to participate in. It attempted to measure and define the qualities of outstanding moments of empathy between players in performance. While it worked for most ensembles, particularly string quartets, our percussion group found that all our performances were based around ‘locking’ rhythmically with one another, revealing no isolated special moments as such.

However, I tend to think that because of the extreme physicality of percussion performance rather than being non-existent, the empathy functioned much more pervasively, allowing the entire performance to be uniformly inspired. I tried to capture something of this approach to music making in the quartet.

Featured in Playlist 5: Nature Waves (31/5/2015)

String Quartet No. 2, 2nd movement ‘Rustica’.

Rustica is built from a collection of brief motivic fragments for string quartet, each no more than four notes, some whimsically folkish in nature, while some feature more biting dissonance.

The relationship between these contrasting elements is that of an emulsion, with the dialogue between the instruments avoiding both synthesis and a full committal to either set of motifs.

The perceptive effect is intended to veer between hearing folk-inspired music with harsher overtones and the reverse, at times rapidly. The energetic Rustica is the second out of four movements in my second string quartet.

Featured in the playlist String Quartet Waves (March 2019)