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Michael Askill : Associate Artist

Random Audio Sample: Lemurian dances : percussion quartet by Michael Askill, from the CD Australian percussion

Photo of Michael Askill

Photo: Sharka Bosakova

Dr Michael Askill (PhD - University of Queensland) is a percussionist, composer, musical director, musical ambassador and educator recognised for his enduring contribution to Australian contemporary music and for his original blending of Asian and Western sounds.

Before embarking on a successful independent career, he was Principal Timpanist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and then Principal Percussionist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He has been a soloist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra as well as the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and was recently a soloist with the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra for the Gallipoli Symphony.

His collaboration with one of Australia's most highly respected choreographers, Graeme Murphy, resulted in a number of ballets including Free Radicals, Salome, Air and Other Invisible Forces and Synergy with Synergy where he acted as a composer, performer and musical director.

Michael's extensive discography (on the Celestial Harmonies and Black Sun labels) features many of his own compositions as well as performances and collaborations with artists such as Synergy Percussion, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, David Hudson, Fritz Hauser. Riley Lee, John Williams, Southern Crossings, Rene Dohmen, Insa Rudolph and Southern Crossings. Australian Percussion features his performances of music by Nigel Westlake, Ross Edwards, Peter Sculthorpe and Martin Wesley Smith. Part of Michael's extensive discography is available here: https://harmonies.com/discographies/synergy.

He has recently performed Songs from the Bardos with Grammy Award nominee Tenzin Choegyal and the legendary Laurie Anderson. Michael co-composed In The Between (inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead) with Riley Lee, Tenzin Choegyal and James Khidir. In The Between has been performed in Sydney, Lismore, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Berlin and Cologne.

Michael and the Iranian-born Hamed Sadeghi have recently composed the live score for the 9 hour setting of the Iliad (The Iliad Out Loud), directed by William Zappa with an ensemble of four actors. Since 2019 The Iliad Out Loud has been performanced each year at the Sydney Festival, Adelaide Festival and Four Winds Festival.

Michael's continuing work with the Australian composer Corrina Bonshek has resulted in performances and recordings of Song to the Earth in Sydney, Kuching (Borneo), Brisbane and the Gold Coast. New Bonshek/Askill collaborations include Song to the Ocean, Laniakea II and PFAS are Forever.

He is currently a guest lecturer at the University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Percussive Arts Society in 2016.

Michael Askill — current to September 2021

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample a complete 180 : for 2 percussionists (2012) Commissioned by Louise Devenish.
Digital sheet music sample FIRE : Composed for the Opening Ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics (2000) Commissioned by the Sydney 2000 Olympics
Digital sheet music sample Finale : from Graeme Murphy's Free Radicals (1996) Composed for Graeme Murphy's Sydney Dance Company for minimal, lightweight instruments.
Digital sheet music sample Brad's Solo : from Graeme Murphy's 'Free Radicals' (1996) Commissioned by Sydney Dance Company.