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Michael Atherton

Michael Atherton
Michael researched English literature at the University of NSW, and studied music at the University of Sydney and the University of New England, where he was attracted to ethnomusicology. He played early music in the Renaissance Players (1974-1980); joined Rivendell Adolescent Unit as a music therapist (1978-1980) in the team of Professor Marie Bashir; pioneered cross-cultural music in Sirocco (1980-1960); and directed his own ensemble, Southern Crossings (1986-1993). He has performed for Musica Viva internationally and throughout Australia. In 1993 he was appointed Foundation Chair in Music at Western Sydney University, where his teaching and research focused on current Australian music expressions. In 1998 he was elected to Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce; and in 2003 he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to the community. Michael is a multi-instrumentalist with expertise in composing and performing music for the concert hall, screen and radio - creating numerous CD recordings, documentary film scores and television themes throughout his career. In 2008, he was the featured composer in the Aurora Festival, with five world premières. Michael's book publications include Musical Instruments and Sound Producing Instruments of Oceania (2010); Australian Made, Australian Played (1991, re-released in 2014); and the co-edited Music of the Spirit: Asian-Pacific Music Identities (2009). Michael is also a member of SynC, an electroacoustic duo. Performance highlights include: the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) New York (2007); and Agora Resonances, Paris (2006). In 2012 Michael was guest artistic director for the Powerhouse Discovery Centre, composing music for public events, including a spectacle for motorcycles, drum kits, synthesizers, brass and operatic voices. Recent compositions include a choral opera for Gondwana Choirs, Walking in Footsteps (2014) and Sing and shout, all the earth (2015) for SCEGGS Darlinghurst. In 2013, Michael was honoured with the title, Emeritus Professor, for his distinguished contribution to teaching and research in the field of music and service to the University over many years.

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