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Mike Nock

Composer, Jazz Composer, Performer


Pianist, composer, band leader and jazz educator Mike Nock, came to Australia from New Zealand in the late 1950s where he quickly established himself as a musician in demand in Sydney and Melbourne jazz clubs and nightclubs and as a member of the highly regarded Three Out Trio. It would be difficult to find in either country a jazz musician who accumulated the depth of international experience he has since that time.

After his first recordings in Australia with the Three-Out Trio in 1960-61, he then went to England and worked in top London jazz establishments before taking up a scholarship to study at Berklee in the United States. He spent the following 25 years in the United States, working with a diverse group of legendary musicians including Dionne Warwick, Coleman Hawkins, Yusef Lateef etc., establishing his leadership credentials through many critically acclaimed recordings. It was here also that he formed the electronic fusion group The Fourth Way, which became widely known and influenced many American bands.

Widely recognised for his abilities, Mike’s honours include: the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to jazz (2003), a two year Australian Arts Council Fellowship (1999-2001), three USA National Endowment Awards for composition (1972, 1975, 1978 ), New Zealand Jazz Record of the Year (1987 and 1989), three Australian Critics Awards (1991, 1992 and 1993), Australian contemporary CD of the year for his BigSmallBand LIVE (2004), and the 1993 MO Award for Jazz Group of the Year and the Montsalvat Jazz Festival Roll of Honour (1995). In 2014 he was awarded the Don Banks Music Award, the most valuable individual music award in Australia. In 2009 he was inducted into the Bell Awards Australian Jazz Hall of Fame and in 2003 presented with the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM). In 1983 he hosted the TVNZ series “Nock On Jazz” and in 1993 was the subject of a TVNZ documentary, “Mike Nock – A Jazz Film”. From 1996 to 2001 he was music director of Naxos/Jazz, overseeing the production of more than 60 widely acclaimed jazz CDs from all corners of the world.

Recordings of his compositions have included leading Australian pianist Michael Kieran-Harvey playing the piano music of Mike Nock with ‘In the Time of Sakura’ (Move MO 3314) and ‘The Mothership Plays the Music of Mike Nock’ (Jazzgroove JGR 030) by Sydney’s Jazzgroove Orchestra. He has a large catalogue of critically acclaimed, internationally released recordings under his leadership and his music has been commissioned and performed by groups such as the Cleveland Chamber Symphony (USA), Australian Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Piano Quartet, and Umo Jazz Orchestra (Finland) among many others.

His groups have made several tours of Europe, Asia, the United States and Canada, as well as performing widely throughout Australasia. He has given many lectures and seminars at universities and conservatoriums worldwide, including Cleveland University (USA), the Sibelius Institute (Finland), Bruckner Conservatorium (Austria), and since 1986 has taught at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Jazz Studies Dept. In 2010 a biography of Mike’s life and career was published: Serious Fun: The Life and Music of Mike Nock. (Norman Meehan, Victoria University Press). “Nock’s ringing iconoclasm pervades all his music, taps a deep well of melody that transcends jazz and informs and ignites his every encounter.” – Down Beat (USA)

For me composition is about painting with sound and I like to explore all the possibilities this presents.

Composed (126)


for piano and drum kit

A Beautiful Friendship

for jazz trio, 4m


for piano and saxophone, 12m 18s

After Satie

for jazz quintet


for piano, 2m

All Most Blues

for piano and drum kit


for piano, 3m

An Accumulation of Subtleties

for jazz trio, 7m 4s


for jazz piano and chamber orchestra, 40m


for jazz trio

Beautiful Stranger

for jazz trio, 7m 29s

Beautiful Your Eyes

for piano, 2m


for piano, 4m 30s

Blues for...

for jazz orchestra

By Sea

for piano and drum kit


for piano, 2m 45s

Catalytic Converter

for jazz trio and piano trio


for piano, 4m


for string quartet and solo jazz piano, 6m


for piano and drums, 6m


for ten piece jazz ensemble

Choose the Beauty Path

for jazz orchestra, 9m 47s

Cloudless Blue

for piano, 3m 20s


for jazz quintet

Comfort Queen

for ten piece jazz ensemble

Courting the Edge of Angst and Ecstasy

for ten piece jazz ensemble, 9m

Current Reality

for ten piece jazz ensemble, 9m


for piano, 2m 20s


for solo guitar, 9m 30s

Dance of the Global Village

for ten piece jazz ensemble, 7m

Danny Boy

for piano and drums

Don Sergio's Dream

for piano, 2m 10s


for jazz orchestra, 7m 34s


for jazz orchestra, 9m 1s

El Testamen De Amelia

for jazz trio and piano trio

Elegy (Parts I & II)

for ten piece jazz ensemble


for jazz trio, 6m 50s

Embracing You

for piano, 4m 30s

Environments II

for chamber orchestra, 30m


for ten piece jazz ensemble

Ephigenesis and Saubade

for jazz quartet, 11m

Ever Distant

for piano, 1m 20s

Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven

for jazz orchestra, 7m 10s

Fictional Realities

for piano trio, 10m

Floating Cloud, Flowing Water

for ten piece jazz ensemble

Free Radicals

for jazz trio and piano trio


for piano, 1m 20s


for piano, 1m 10s

Going for Baroque

for piano, 1m 30s

Great Wall - Many Ancestors

for piano and drums, 8m

Green Cycle

for piano, 2m 15s

Hadrian's Wall

for jazz orchestra, 5m 38s

Harriet Street

for piano and drums, 6m

Hear and Know

for jazz quintet

If Truth Be Known

for jazz quintet

In the time of Sakura

for piano, 3m 30s


for ten piece jazz ensemble, 10m

Inertial Confinement System(ics)

for large chamber ensemble, 20m

Information Horizon

for jazz trio and piano trio


for ten piece jazz ensemble, 10m

Joyous Awakening

for jazz trio, 6m 7s


for piano and drum kit

Knee Deep in Thin Air

for piano and synthesizer (one performer) with dancers, 1h 15m

Komodo Dragon

for jazz quintet

Land of the Never-Never

for piano, 3m

Le Primitif

for piano and drum kit


for jazz quintet

Like Spring

for jazz quartet, 6m

Makeru Ga Kachi

for jazz trio, 5m 31s

Mike Battles The Hydra

for piano and drum kit


for bassoon and piano, 5m

Morning Reverie

for solo piano


for piano and drums, 3m

Motif with Diverse Variations

for woodwind quintet, 6m

Musica Solar

for jazz trio and piano trio

Nata Lagal

for jazz orchestra, 9m 25s


for trombone, percussion, flute, english horn and piano, 10m

Nu Upline

for ten piece jazz ensemble, 7m

One For Yawl

for jazz quintet

Open Door

for piano and drums, 4m

Open the Window (and let in the moon)

for ten piece jazz ensemble, 7m

Parting the Veil

for piano, 3m

Phaedra's Lullaby

for piano and drums, 7m


for solo piano


for piano, 4m 30s

Red Descending

for piano

Ringstone Round

for piano, 2m 40s

Rite of Passage

for jazz trio, 5m 52s

Satori No Mado

for piano and drum kit


for piano, 2m

Shifting Goalposts

for ten musicians, 30m

Sho's Cradle Song

for piano, 1m 20s


for bassoon, orchestra and jazz trio


for piano and drum kit

Slow News Day

for jazz quintet

Slum Goddess

for ten piece jazz ensemble, 8m


for piano and drum kit

Song for the Children

for piano, 7m

Southern Suite

for piano (four hands), 20m


for piano and drum kit

Spring Rain

for piano, 2m 10s


for string quartet with jazz group, plus electronic tape, 15m


for jazz trio, 8m 50s


for ten piece jazz ensemble


for piano, 2m

The Long Fall from Splendour to Splendour

for piano and synthesizer (one player) with dancers, 1h 30m

The Old Times

for piano and drum kit

The Promise

for piano, 1m 10s

The Sibylline Fragrance

for jazz quintet

To Anne

for piano, 3m 40s

To Market

for choir, 6m

Transformations I, II, III

for string orchestra with jazz quintet, 25m

Variations for bassoon and piano

for bassoon and piano, 8m


for piano trio and jazz trio

Waltz '86

for string quartet, piano and guitar, 7m

We are a Rainbow

for choir, 8m

Yin Yang

for piano and drums

Your Smile

for piano, drums and bass, 6m 58s


for ten piece jazz ensemble, 10m

Zeus' Dream

for piano and drum kit