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Christine McCombe : Represented Artist

'I think music should aspire to create a space for contemplation. Every piece of music I write or work that I create strives for this in different ways but a common thread is the strangeness and beauty of human experience...'

Random Audio Sample: Halcyon : three songs for voice and guitar by Christine McCombe, from the CD Earth jewels

Photo of Christine McCombe

Photo: Bridget Elliot

Christine McCombe initially studied composition in Australia, at the University of Melbourne and the Victorian College of Arts with Peter Tahourdin, Barry Conyngham and Mark Pollard. In 1997 she was awarded several scholarships and awards that enabled her to pursue her compositional studies in the UK where she completed an MMus at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (1998), studying with James MacMillan and a PhD in composition (2003) at the University of Edinburgh.

Christine returned to Australia in 1997 to take up a post as lecturer in Music at Queensland University of Technology. Since 2005 she has been based in Melbourne, working as a freelance composer while also teaching in a variety of roles at RMIT, Monash University and the University of Melbourne. Most recently Christine has broadened her creative practice to incorporate the therapeutic potential of sound and image. As a composer and registered art therapist she is exploring new and inspiring creative territory.

Many of McCombe's compositions have been commissioned for and performed by leading ensembles and soloists in Australia, Europe and the US, including Plexus Collective (Melbourne), Topology Ensemble (Brisbane), the Australian Chamber Choir (Melbourne), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Piano Trio, soloists from the Manchester Camerata (UK) and the Sutherland Trio (Melbourne).

Christine's compositions have been released on CD by leading performers including Michael Kieran Harvey, Ian Holtham, Ken Murray and Jeannie Marsh and the Dunedin Consort (UK). in 2018 Tall Poppies Records will release a CD of premiere recordings of some of Christine's chamber works - three kinds of silence.

As a composer, Christine's main focus is the way in which music is experienced in time and space and this is often reflected in an active engagement with the performance space or a specific site. In general, her aim is to create music and sound which engages the listener on many different levels. This is reflected in exploration of in installation, soundscape and video performance in her work as well as more traditional musical forces.

McCombe says "I think music should aspire to create a space for contemplation. Every piece of music I write or work that I create strives for this in different ways but a common thread is the strangeness and beauty of human experience."

Christine McCombe — current to September 2018

Studied with

Barry Conyngham (1987 - 1988)

Mark Pollard (1993 - 1994)

James MacMillan (1997 - 1998)

Nigel Osborne (1998 - 2003)


Collaborated with

Topology (2002 - 2003)

Australian Chamber Choir (2011 - 2013)

Black Hole Theatre (2015)

Plexus Ensemble


Influenced by

Ross Edwards

Morton Feldman

Kaija Saariaho

Galina Ustvolskaya

Judith Weir


Teacher/Influence on

Zinia Chan

Kym Alexandra Dillon (2010)

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
1995 Dorian le Gallienne Composition Award Recipient Between silence and rage

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Power in stillness : for SATB choir (2021) Commissioned by Australian Chamber Choir.
Digital sheet music sample Waiting : (for the pause), for flute, cello, percussion and piano (2019) Commissioned for the Rubiks Collective Pythia Prize 2018.
Digital sheet music sample Ebb tide : for contralto, clarinet, cello and percussion (2016) Commissioned by David Cramond
to the wider ocean : for mezzo-soprano, violin, cello and piano (2015) Commissioned for the 2015 Salford Sonic Fusion Festival (UK)
three kinds of silence : for piano trio (2013) Commissioned by Artisan Trio.
Digital sheet music sample A lexicon of dreams : for SATB choir (2013) Commissioned by Douglas Lawrence for performance by Australian Chamber Choir.