Phil Brownlee is a composer, sound artist, and sound engineer, based in Wellington, New Zealand.
As a composer of concert music, his work is published under the name Philip Brownlee.
As well as composing concert music, he is also interested in working with recorded sound, improvised performance, and collaborative approaches to sound-making.
See the Biography page for more information.
A video of the premiere of Ko te tātai whetū is now online:
Performed by Ariana Tikao, with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ben Northey.
Recorded at the Airforce Museum, Wigram, Christchurch, on 13 June 2015.
Audio recorded by Radio New Zealand Concert, filmed and edited by Chris Watson for the Resound Project for SOUNZ.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in the project, and especially to Ariana for the rich collaborative relationship. I wonder what else we might make together.
I’ve been collaborating with Ariana Tikao on a concerto for taonga pūoro and orchestra. The piece was commissioned by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and we’re very grateful for their support and commitment to the project. We’ve also been working with Dr Richard Nunns, and it’s been wonderful to work with Richard again.
Ko te tātai whetū will have its premiere on Saturday 13 June, at the Air Force Museum of NZ, in Wigram.
Details of the concert are here.
It’s that time of year again. Ben Hoadley is presenting a concert of woodwind music by New Zealand composers at St Andrews on the Terrace in Wellington.
Rowena Simpson and Kamala Bain will be performing Night Countdown, and the programme also includes pieces by Douglas Lilburn, Helen Fisher, Robbie Ellis, James Gardner, and Ross Harris.
Wednesday 13 May, 12:15 pm
St Andrews on the Terrace, Wellington
There’s also a concert in Auckland on Friday 15 May, with a different programme.
My friends Rowena Simpson (soprano) and Kamala Bain (recorders) are giving two concerts in Wellington next week. The programme is titled Travelling Spirits, and features old and new music for voice and recorder.
The new music includes pieces by Nicola LeFanu, John Rodgers, Karel van Steenhoven, Lyell Cresswell, Dorothy Ker, Helen Fisher, as well as the première of my new piece, Night Countdown, commissioned by Rowena and Kamala.
The concerts are:
Wednesday 29 October, 12.15-1.00pm at St Marks Church, 58 Woburn Rd, Lower Hutt
Sunday 2 November, 2.00-3.00pm at Futuna Chapel, Friend St, Karori, Wellington
There’s a review of the New Zealand Music for Woodwind concert on the Middle C site, written by Frances Robinson.
It seems she enjoyed Stolen Time:
The piece unfolded as a delicate counterpoint between the two solo voices, opening with a spare unison melody that evoked, for me, images of Fiordland bush in the dead of night. There we can indeed steal time from our over-busy urban lives, and listen to the enquiring bird calls that cut into the matchless silence of the rainforest. The recorder floated on top with light, trilling, fluid lines, over intermittent calls from a Kiwi exploring a few notes outside its normal range, and the occasional honk of a bittern. All closed into the night time silence with another spare, fading unison line…… I was left hoping that we will hear more of Philip Brownlee’s wind writing in future.
I’m intrigued by the way she’s formed an interpretation that relates the sounds of the music to something from her own experience. From the composer’s point of view, I’d call that a success, at least for this particular listener.
Ben Hoadley’s annual New Zealand Music for Woodwind concert is coming up on 14 May.
This year it features music by Kenneth Young, Gillian Whitehead, Natalie Hunt, and the première of my new piece, Stolen Time, for recorder and dulcian, written for Ben and Kamala Bain.
The concert’s part of the St Andrew’s on the Terrace Lunchtime Concert Series:
Wednesday 14 May, 12:15 pm, St Andrews on the Terrace, Wellington.
And it’s free.
This coming weekend, Auckland ensemble 175 East will be performing Tendril and Nebula, at Q Theatre in Auckland. Music by Dorothy Ker and James Saunders is also on the programme.
Details here; Sunday 8 December, 8pm, 305 Queen Street, Auckland.
Tendril and Nebula was commissioned by 175 East in 1999 (my first professional commission!), and I’m very much looking forward to revisiting it with them.
On the Middle C website, Peter Mechen has published a review of Stroma’s Mirror of Time 2 concert, which included my new piece, Canzona per sonare: Degraded Echoes.
…the opening tones “summoned” as it seemed from faraway places, a sombre medieval sound made of long-held lines from strings and recorder, the lines and harmonies vying with the actual timbres, giving we listeners the opportunity to think spatially, or else indulge our preoccupations. An agitated middle section, aleatoric in effect, underlined rhythmic and pitching gestures, encompassed by piercing tones from the recorder, and took us at the end to edges of known territories, where wonderment begins.
The whole review is here.
Stroma’s next concert features the première of a new piece, Canzona per sonare: Degraded Echoes.
It’s a short piece for recorder and string quartet, featuring Kamala Bain, with Stroma’s regular string players.
The concert is a continuation of last year’s performances under the same title, made up of arrangements of early music, alongside music from the 20th and 21st centuries. The early music is drawn from the avant-garde of its own time, and should contain a few surprises for modern ears.
There are two performances, at St Mary’s of the Angels, in Wellington, on 26 April, at 6pm and 8pm.
More information can be found on Stroma’s website.
The electroacoustic piece Mists and Voices will be broadcast on Sound Lounge next week – Tuesday 16 October, 7pm (NZDT), on Radio New Zealand Concert.
There are technical things about the piece that are tricky for radio, so it will be interesting to hear how it comes across.
The broadcast is part of the Resound series, which is a joint project between RNZ Concert and SOUNZ, aimed at making the contents of RNZC’s archive of New Zealand music available for broadcast, and online. The whole series (each week in Sound Lounge for the next few months) is highly recommended.