Several recent works by Gordon Hamilton subvert expectations of the orchestra. He conducted his 2015 beatbox concerto ‘Thum Prints’ at the 2016 BBC Proms AU with beatbox superstar Tom Thum. His 2014 work for QSO ‘Ghosts in the Orchestra’ places a choir among the orchestral players, prompting them with sung instructions. He also collaborated with turntablist Sampology on ‘Natural Selections’ for orchestra and turntables.
Gordon has also experimented with music for laptop and orchestra. In his ‘482 Variations on a Very Short Theme’ a brief Beatles recording plays out of a speaker… the orchestra latches onto three notes, spinning them out into 482 (extremely short!) micro variations. In ‘Action Hero’ (commissioned by the West German Funkhausorchester) an Arnold Schwarzenegger speech plays through a speaker while the orchestra plays along.
Having freelanced for five years in Germany, Gordon was appointed as Artistic Director of The Australian Voices in 2009. 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 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 they made international headlines with the commission and subsequent video of Rob Davidson’s ‘Not Now, Not Ever!’ – a musicalisation of former PM Julia Gillard’s famous ‘misogyny’ speech.
Under a more cheeky guise, Gordon reassembles the contributions of unwitting collaborators. His ‘Tra$h Ma$h’ (2012) reassembles fleeting grabs from pop songs. ‘Toy Story 3 = Awesome!’ (2011) – sets a stream of inane consciousness from his own Facebook news feed. His choral setting of a BuzzFeed article ‘The 9 Cutest Things That Ever Happened’ (2013) has been viewed on YouTube over one million times.
Gordon is creative sound designer and radio producer, having produced recordings for ABC of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and London Symphony. Gordon presents Screen Sounds on ABC Classic FM. In 2015 and 2016 Gordon sound-designed the RiverFire fireworks for the Brisbane Festival. He has composed for several plays at Queensland Theatre and La Boite Theatre Company including ‘Medea’ (2015), in which a ‘Greek’ chorus sings and interacts with the actors.
Gordon received first prize in the Coral Gables Congregational Church Florida 2006 Composition Prize, as well as awards at the International Chamber Days, Raumberg (2008) and the Luxembourg Sinfonietta Composition Prize (2007). For his work with hearing-impaired children he was presented with a Community Champion Award (2011) by former PM Kevin Rudd.
In 2017-18 Gordon will conduct the WDR Funkhausorchester (Cologne) and the St. Christofer Chamber Orchestra (Vilnius), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, where he is Assistant Conductor.
Originally from Newcastle, Gordon studied at the University of Newcastle (2000-4) under esteemed composer Nigel Butterley. He is a represented composer at the Australian Music Centre.