Brisbane cellist, Katherine Philp, enhanced her performance skills through exposure to ideas and techniques from other artistic disciplines.


Katherine Philp is an emerging cellist from Brisbane. Investment from the Individuals Fund in 2016 enabled Katherine to engage in professional development activities at the San Marino New Music Project and at the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music.

Katherine studied with some of the best artists in contemporary music, gave solo and ensemble performances and presented her research about the performance practice of contemporary music.

During the two programs, Katherine extended her professional networks to include both emerging and established composers and performers who regularly appear at Europe’s leading contemporary music festivals.

The San Marino New Music Project gave Katherine the opportunity to develop her performance skills by exposing her to ideas and techniques from other artistic disciplines. These new insights enhanced her concert skills and she was awarded ‘Best Performer’ for her performance of the Berio Sequenza XIV – her first international award.


Katherine Philp with renowned cellist and advocate for contemporary music, Rohan de Saram (left). Image: Katherine Philp.



July – August 2016 


San Marino, San Marino and Darmstadt, Germany.

Arts Queensland contribution:

$5,000 – Individuals Fund   


  • Katherine enhanced her technical knowledge and understanding of playing the cello as well as how to study and communicate the details of a piece.
  • The inter-disciplinary approach to teaching at San Marino New Music Project allowed Katherine to explore her practice through improvisational sessions involving both physical movement and spoken word. The incorporation of theatre skills gave Katherine insights into how to use gaze, lighting, space and costume to enhance performances. These insights will strengthen her performances and enhance her teaching skills and practice.
  • Katherine’s achievements in San Marino have increased her professional reputation and resulted in future performance opportunities. She was invited to perform the Berio Sequenza XIV for solo cello at the Queensland Conservatorium in October 2016.
  • Katherine has been invited back to San Marino for a solo recital in July 2017. She will premiere a new work by an Australian composer she has commissioned for this performance.
  • The professional networks Katherine developed during these international training programs have opened up possibilities for future collaborations between European composers and her contemporary music ensemble, Kupka’s Piano.


Cello-Piano composer workshop with Lucas Fels and Brian Ferneyhough. Image: Katherine Philp.


Learnings and reflections

Katherine’s experiences in both the San Marino New Music Project and Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music allowed her to work with students and teachers from a variety of backgrounds. The experience gave her insights into the challenges of international collaborations:

There were some challenges in the workshop process: quality of communication, the effects of ego/insecurity, language barriers, choices of notation, rehearsal process and so on. It was clear to see how working dynamics between all parties in the workshop process contributed greatly to the strength or weakness of the artistic outcome.

For performers of contemporary music, to work constructively with composers first-hand is vitally important – if the collaborative process is thoughtfully undertaken and documented, the composer-performer workshop can serve as both a site to reflect upon process, and a rich source of information for future interpreters.

The experience has increased my confidence in my ability and opened up opportunities for an inspired and rewarding musical practice into the future.


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Katherine’s recital at San Marino

Kupka’s Piano