MUS Biographies

Dr Philip Eames, Principal Conductor

Hailing from Brisbane, Dr Philip Eames studied piano with Dr Max Olding, AM and Dr Stephen Savage at the Queensland Conservatorium, where he was presented with the Owen Fletcher Postgraduate Award and the Fred Ellaway Prize as the highest achieving piano student. Philip then underwent further study on scholarship at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, before completing his doctorate in 2017 at the Sydney Conservatorium on the choral music of Percy Grainger. Currently, Philip is a research associate at the Sydney Conservatorium working as part of the Spencer-Bennett NeuroMusic Collaborative, and a musicology and postgraduate lecturer at the Australian Institute of Music.

Philip has worked extensively with choirs, initially as an accompanist before expanding into director roles, and was appointed Principal Conductor of the Macquarie Singers in 2023. In 2019, Philip was selected as one of the inaugural assistant conductors of the River City Voices under the guidance of Sarah Penicka-Smith and has enjoyed collaborating with the choir since. He served as the long-term musical director of Aqualuna Singers and is frequently engaged as a guest conductor and accompanist for other choirs including the Willoughby Symphony Choir and Jubilate Singers.

A pianist with a penchant for modernist and Australian repertoire, Philip has appeared both as soloist and chamber musician and is the recipient of many notable prizes including the South-East Queensland Concerto Competition, the Queensland Piano Competition, the Australian Concerto and Aria Competition and the Keys Festival of Australian Music. Most notably, Philip was a category finalist in the ABC Young Performers Awards, performing Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No.2 “The Age of Anxiety” as soloist with the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Verbitsky.

Philip’s compositions have been critically recognised and well-received by audiences and performers alike. He was announced the winner of the 2020 Willgoss Choral Composition Prize, the Tagore Composition Competition, and the ASKM Composition Competition. In 2019 he collaborated with the Black Square Quartet, Waangenga Blanco and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation to create a large-scale string quartet based on the stories of Oodgeroo Noonuccal and accompanied by dance. This work (String Quartet No.3 “Minjeribah Dreaming”) received a string of acclaimed performances during the 2019 Quandamooka Festival. Further commission highlights include The Australian Voices, Queensland Ballet, and the Australian National Piano Award.

Callum Tolhurst-Close, Rehearsal Accompanist

Callum Tolhurst-Close (b.1991) began musical studies at a young age and graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) from the University of Newcastle, where he studied Pipe Organ with Dr Philip Matthias and conducting with Dr David Banney. Callum holds an A.Mus.A and A.Dip.SCSM in piano performance. As soloist and collaborative musician, Callum has performed in cathedrals, concert halls, and venues around Australia and internationally, including St Paul’s Cathedral (London), St Paul’s Cathedral (Melbourne), St Peter’s Cathedral (Adelaide) and Christ Church Cathedral (Newcastle). In February 2023, Callum joins Macquarie Singers as Principal Accompanist, working closely with Musical Director, Dr Philip Eames.

Callum is currently Organist & Director of Music at St Luke’s Anglican Chruch Mosman and prior to this, was Sub-Organist at Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle. An in-demand repetiteur and accompanist, Callum has worked with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Pacific Opera, as well as numerous community ensembles and solo musicians. He is also sought after as a Musical Director for theatre, with highlights including Theatre & Company’s The Full Monty, Willoughby Theatre Company’s The Sound of Music and SYMT’s The Little Mermaid.

Outside his musical endeavours, Callum is a respected Arts Administrator and Fundraiser, who has worked with some of Australia’s largest arts organisations, including Musica Viva Australia and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He is currently Director of Philanthropy at the Australian Youth Orchestra, where he is a member of the organisation’s Executive Team and responsible for developing and implementing the national fundraising strategy.

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