Dr Philip Eames, Principal Conductor
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.
Soowon Seo, Principal Pianist
South Korean born pianist, accompanist and piano teacher, Soowon learnt piano under the influence of her aunt, an accomplished pianist. For the past 30 years, she has travelled the world studying, performing and competing, as both a soloist and a chamber musician.
Soowon is a Masters Degree graduate of Northwestern University, Chicago, USA, majoring in performance and pedagogy and holds a Bachelor Degree in Piano Performance from Yonsei University, South Korea. She is an alumni of Yewon Arts Middle School and Seoul Arts High School, Korea, where she specialised in piano performance.
Soowon has performed on numerous international stages including tours with Stargate Music Production, USA Chicago Children’s Choir across America, chamber music festivals in Germany and the Seoul Spring Festival in South Korea. Her solo recitals include performances at the Art for Life Hall, Mozart Hall in Seoul and Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney. As a founding member and leader of Sydney based chamber group, Ensembles Twelve88, she has been performing across Sydney with the chamber group to deliver the power of music.
Since her recent move to Australia, Soowon has been running her own piano studio to nurture and share the joy of music with her students.