Excelsia College

School of Creative and Performing Arts

Dr. Peter McNamara | Excelsia College | Music Academic Staff

Tutor, Composition & Advanced Harmony

Dr Peter McNamara

BMus (Hons), MMus, PhD
Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604



Biographical details

Dr. Peter McNamara is an award-winning Sydney-based freelance composer and academic.  He is currently the instructor of composition (Masters) and harmony units at the Excelsia College and has worked for a variety of other tertiary institutions including the University of Sydney and University of New England.  He is also a co-artistic director of the Sideband composer collective.

Profile of Dr Peter McNamara


Peter completed a PhD at Sydney University in 2011 and was a recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award, as well as a Masters of Music in 2006 and Bachelor of Music (Honours) in 2003.

Awards and Honours

2015 APRA Professional Development Award (Classical Category)

2014 Gallipoli Songs Prize

2008 Sibelius Emerging Composer Commission

2008 2MBS FM Young Composer Prize for Orchestral Composition

2007 Betty Amsden Award for Orchestral Composition

Research Interests

Peter McNamara’s compositional interests extend across a wide variety of experimental music genres including orchestral, chamber, film and multi-media.  He has a particular interest in applying music technology and the physics of sound in his compositions, and has conducted research into the Live Electronic music genre.

Current projects

Peter McNamara’s current projects include a number of multi-media works with chamber instrumentation and live electronics/video. He is also co-authoring a research article discussing compositional approaches setting ancient texts to music.

Selected publications

Creative Outputs

2021, De Rerum Natura (Song Cycle Composition)


2021, De Rerum Natura (Album Release)


2019, Sideband: Renaissance (Curated Performance Event)


2019, Land of Cruelty (Composition)


2015, The General’s Garden (Composition)


2013, Amplitude (Composition)


2012, Perpetual Inertia (Composition)


2012, Mountain Study (Video and Sound Installation)


2005, Landscape of Diffracted Colours (Composition)


Journal Papers

2016, “Contrasting Approaches: The Continued Relevance of Pre-recorded Live Electronic Music in Australian Music”.  Musicology Australia, 38.1 (2016): 46-64


Conference Papers

2018, “Contrasting Approaches: The Continued Relevance of Pre-recorded Live Electronic Music”.  Australasian Computer Music Conference Proceedings (2018): 46-50.