Enter your username and password

Forgotten your username or password?

Your Shopping Cart

There are no items in your shopping cart.

Michael Atherton : Represented Artist

I am fascinated with rhythmic energy, and I'm in awe of the sublimity of the singing voice; and also the infinite instrumental timbres of the world. These things drive my research as a composer, performer and teacher.

Random Audio Sample: Tarantella nuova : chamber ensemble by Michael Atherton, from the CD Track

Photo of Michael Atherton

Photo: Tod Clarke


Following postgraduate research in literature at the University of NSW, Michael Atherton studied music at both 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 as a music therapist (1978-80) in the team of Professor Marie Bashir, her Excellency the Governor of NSW; pioneered crosscultural music in Sirocco (1980-86); and directed his own ensemble, Southern Crossings (1986-93).

Michael Atherton performed in many countries for Musica Viva and appeared at major festivals prior to his appointment, in 1993, as the Foundation Chair of Music at UWS, where he led the development of teaching and research with a focus on a range of Australian expressions in our time.

Atherton is considered an expert in musical instruments and sound-making objects, especially those of Australia and the Asia-Pacific. He is also composer, performer and researcher with broad experience in music for the concert hall, film, television and radio. His music is featured on numerous CD recordings, documentary film scores and television themes, including the station music for TVS.

In 2008, he was a featured composer in the Aurora Festival, with five world premieres to his credit. He is an elected fellow (FRSA) of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. His awards include a Centenary Medal (2003) for service to the community, and a high commendation for research training and supervision in the VC's Awards for Excellence (2008). Atherton has co-edited, with Bruce Crossman, the publication Music of the Spirit: Asian-Pacific Musical Identity (AMC 2009). His most recent book is Musical Instruments and Sound-producing Objects of Oceania (Peter Lang International, 2010).

Michael Atherton — current to June 2012

Collaborated with

Jim Franklin (2000 - current)

Garth Paine (2004 - current)


Studied with

Nigel Butterley (2006)


Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Songs of stone and silence : for voices, clarinet, piano and violoncello (2009) Commissioned by Ars Musica Australis for performance by Halcyon.
Digital sheet music sample Kamawarah : for orchestra, soprano, didjeridu, clapsticks (2000) Commissioned by the New South Wales Centenary of Federation Committee, for the celebrations in Centennial Park, Sydney, January 1st, 2001.
Digital sheet music sample Kalliopeia sopha : for SSA voices (2000) Commissioned by Sydney Children's Choir.
Songs for Imberombera : Treble choir (1997) Commissioned by Sydney Children's Choir for performance by Gondwana Voices.
Digital sheet music sample The mahogany ship : for SSA choir, string quartet and percussion (1993) Commissioned by Sydney Children's Choir.