Kris Eira – Musician

As a composer, I am interested in crossing the boundaries between the temporal and the spatial, between audience, performer and composer, between the mundane and the transcendent. I am strongly drawn to the symbolism of structures at many levels, developing a work by layering realisations of an overarching symbolic, or at times ritual principle, in different dimensions. My music is essentially polyphonic, comprised largely of the simultaneous outworking of independent strands. Whether scoring conventionally or outlining parameters to be fully determined by performers, I like to design core building blocks which then unfold through external patterns, algorithms, cyclic and recursive forms.

As a performer, I play various percussion instruments in gamelan ensembles directed by Jeremy Dullard (Gamelan DanAnda) and Mike Ewing (Putra Panji Asmara), plus mostly 20th – 21st century piano music – and whatever is needed in my own projects. I performed in Pisaro’s a wave and waves for 100 percussionists (Melb. Festival, 2015).


I have my Associate of Music, Australia in piano, and a Bachelor of Music (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, for which I majored in piano and medieval musicology. During the 1990s, I studied composition briefly with Ros Bandt, then returned to the University of Melbourne to complete a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a PhD, both in linguistics. I now split my time between composition, performance, and my linguistics work in Aboriginal language revival.

Selected compositions:

Please email to discuss possible performance of any of these or to request scores. Some recordings also available: see ‘Links’ section on the right hand side of this page near the top.

2016 The Tower of Timpanoi. The old game of the Tower of Hanoi is translated to a performance game in which a tower of sound entities is transferred between 3 timpani. Recording: Brent Miller, 2016.

2016 Gravitational: Music of the spheres for 15-30 flutes. Flashmob style instructional score which placed in the 2016 Unbound Flute composition competition. Premiere 2016, Unbound Flute Festival, 1-3 July 2016, Brisbane.

2016 Piano games A suite of games for piano solo, in which slow change evolves from given starting points and rules for each Game. For performance or pure enjoyment!

2015 afterwards A drifting, ephemeral, semi-determined piece for very high and very low gamelan metallophones and voice. Premiere 2016 Asyik Melbourne 22 July.

2015 OMBAK-Wave Gamelan piece for Gong Kebyar, evoking the ebb and flow of waves. (Ombak also means the sonic ‘wave’ created by the intentional clash of frequencies in the tuning of pairs of instruments in a gamelan ensemble.)

2014 the shadows the light – Song cycle about hidden movement and change, making a feature of the way choral sound moves across space: Shadows – Memory (double helix) – Heyiya! (inspired by Ursula Le Guin ‘Always Coming Home’) – The Gate of Shining Light – Seams in the rocks. Poem by Nola Firth and additional text by Wyrda.

2014 Kaleidoscope – Piano solo exploring the possibilities of pivoting between harmonies to gain new ‘views’. Premiere 2014 Shostakovich and Friends

2013   Synaesthesia – Live installation suite developed in collaboration with sculptor Velislav Georgiev. For small and found-object percussion, variable instrumentation and/or voices, and electronics: Kaleidoscope – Pendulum – Stacks. Premiere 2014, Omnibus Gallery, Ballan

2012   Nameless the Land Her Names – Soundscape exploring our relationship to the histories of the Land. For live and processed voices, variable instrumentation, and electronic sound surround: And From All The Lands of Earth – Reclamation – The Languages of the Land – Earth. Premiere Ballan Feast 2012.

2012/2005 Change(less) – Semi-determined score based on the hexagrams of the I Ching. For two trios (variable instruments). Premiere Homophonic 2016 – 3 Shades Black (dir. Miranda Hill) Feb 2016

2011   Variations on a Theme of Ballarat and other random inspirations – Soundtrack for Live and let’s…go have a cuppa (Wombat Regional Arts Network movie for 15/15 competition). For piano, harmonica, recorder and found-object percussion.

Selected recent performances:

2015 a wave and waves for 100 percussionists, by Michael Pisaro, dir. Eugene Ughetti (Speak Percussion – Melbourne Festival)

2014 Besi Kuna – Selunding ensemble, performing at Festival of Slow Music Ballarat 2014 & 2015.

2014   Synaesthesia Omnibus Gallery, Ballan.

2014 Shostakovich and friends – House concert for piano, with Barb Williams. Featuring selected Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues.

2012   Nameless the Land Her Names Ballan Feast 2012.

2011 darkness and a dream of water – House concert for piano featuring works of Crumb, Glass and Debussy.

Photos by WYRDA unless otherwise credited

composer, pianist, gamelan, graphic scores, new music