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Red Contributor

Philip Brownlee

Composer, Performer

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Born: 1971 Website  External link


Philip Brownlee (b. 1971) is a composer and sound artist, based in Wellington, New Zealand. In 2008 he received the degree of PhD in Composition from Victoria University of Wellington. This was based on research into the structural role of timbre, through his own compositional practice with instrumental and electroacoustic resources. Between 1999 and 2003 he was a member of Amalgam, a collective which presented a series of cross-disciplinary performance pieces in Wellington. These performances incorporated predetermined musical materials with free improvisation, and elements of theatre, dance and video art. Their 2000 production Meatworks was voted Best Music Show in that year’s Wellington Fringe Festival.

As a composer of concert music, he has worked with many of New Zealand’s leading contemporary music performers, including Stroma, 175 East, Bridget Douglas, Richard Nunns, Robert Ibell, Johnny Chang, and Dylan Lardelli. He was a finalist for the SOUNZ Contemporary Award 2001 for his work Sinew/Synapse for solo cello. His works have also been performed at a number of international festivals. In October 2009 he attended the World Music Days festival at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, as part of a delegation of Māori and Pacific musicians and scholars. In that festival he presented He rimu pae noa, a work for taonga pūoro and ensemble, with Richard Nunns and Horomona Horo, and an ensemble of the Conservatory’s students.

Recent premières include Night Countdown for soprano voice and bass recorder (2014) commissioned by Rowena Simpson and Kamala Bain, Stolen Time for recorder and dulcian (2014), and Ko te tātai whetū, a concerto for taonga pūoro and orchestra written in collaboration with Ariana Tikao (2015).

Composed (36)

As if to catch the fleeting tail of time

for guitar and ensemble, 16m

Canzona per sonare: Degraded Echoes

for recorder and string quartet, 6m

Cat, Dog, Pie

electroacoustic, 8m

Circuit Diagram

for violin and/or cello, 30s

Circuit Diagram

for cello, 30s

Circuit Diagram

for violin, 30s

Collaborative Improvisation

for sampelong and recorders, 7m

Ex machina

electroacoustic, 11m 13s


for clarinet, violin and cello, 11m 30s

Gracious numbers decayed

for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, 10m


for flute, 8m

He rimu pae noa

for taonga pūoro and ensemble, 9m

Improbable Mechanism

for recorder quartet, 5m

Ko te tātai whetū

for taonga pūoro and orchestra, 18m 30s

Ko te tātai whetū

for taonga puoro and chamber ensemble, 15m 30s


for large ensemble, 18m

Mists and Voices

electroacoustic, 11m

Night Countdown

for soprano voice (with glockenspiel) and bass recorder


for violin and piano, 4m 30s

Phyllis Remembers

chamber opera, 11m

Raroa Overture

for junior orchestra


for cello, 10m

Sparks Among the Geysers

for chamber ensemble, 16m

Stolen Time

for recorder and dulcian


for double bass


for piano, 6m

Te Hau o Tāwhirimātea

for flute and taonga pūoro, 11m

Tendril and Nebula

for chamber ensemble, 14m

The Hedgehog's Dilemma

for clarinet quartet, 1m

The length of a breath

for contrabass recorder

The quietest name of the wind

for chamber ensemble, 8m

The stars like years

for clarinet quartet, 16m

Trio for clarinets

for clarinet trio, 6m

Water Sketch with Tui

for violin and piano, 7m

Written on the Wind, and Running Water

for string quartet, 11m