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Katherine Philip


In February 2015, Katherine participated in the Impuls Academy in Graz, Austria, with members of her contemporary music ensemble Kupka’s Piano. Founded by composer Beat Furrer, the Academy provided a unique opportunity to learn from the world’s leading composers, soloists and ensembles specialising in the performance of contemporary music. Katherine undertook study of Berio’s Sequenza XIV with Rohan de Saram (for whom the work was written), improvisation sessions with Frank Gratkowsky and Manon Lui-Winter, studied Gelöschte Lieder by Enno Poppe and performed in the academy finale concert. Katherine was also able to attend numerous concerts, which featured works by both established and emerging composers at the academy.


13-25 February 2015


Graz, Austria

Arts Queensland contribution:

$2000 – Individuals Fund

Photo of Katherine Philip


  • Katherine explored and developed skills in new ways of approaching and interpreting contemporary music

The academy represents my first attempt at specialising in contemporary music, and the experience has shaped me as a cellist and interpreter.

  • Katherine met and performed with a network of young musicians and composers from across Europe who specialize in new music. Networks made with other emerging composers have laid the foundations for future commissions for Kupka’s Piano.
  • Katherine has been invited to give performances of Berio's Sequenza XIV at the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Arts and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Current Festival.

Learnings and reflections

Katherine had the following reflections on her experience at the academy:

A result of studying with Rohan de Saram, a performer who has been working closely with composers for nearly 50 years, was insight into an inquiring and analytical way of approaching new work. Becoming familiar with the various types of notation used in modern music is central to interpretation, but I found that Rohan would often look beyond the notation to find a particular sound and aesthetic central to the composer’s work. Before attempting to play a piece he studies the rhythmic and harmonic structures as well as overall architecture of a piece, much as a musicologist would go about analysis. Rohan is therefore able to very clearly convey the composer’s intention. Observing this analytical approach has provided me with further skills in interpreting musical styles previously unfamiliar to me.

Lessons with Rohan also involved working in a lot of detail on the Sequenza XIV by Luciano Berio. The work was written for de Saram, and interpretation of the score, as well as Rohan’s insights into performance practice of the Sequenza XIV, is now the subject of a Research Masters I am undertaking at the Queensland Conservatorium.

Contact for further information



Website: Kupka’s Piano


A pdf version of the case study (PDF) (301.29 KB) is available.

All images courtesy Katherine Philip.

Banner image: Rehearsal. Image courtesy Katherine Philip.


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