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Michael Norris


Born: 1973 Website  


Michael Norris (b. 1973) is a Wellington-based composer, software programmer and music theorist. He holds composition degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and City University, London, and currently teaches composition, orchestration, sonic arts and post-tonal music theory at New Zealand School of Music | Te Kōkī at Victoria University of Wellington . He is recipient of the 2001 Mozart Fellowship, the 2003 Douglas Lilburn Prize, the 2012 CANZ Trust Fund Award and has been nominated for the SOUNZ Contemporary Award eight times, winning it in 2014 with Inner Phases , in 2018 with Sygyt, in 2019 with Violin Concerto 'Sama', and in 2020 with Mātauranga (Rerenga).

He has participated in composition courses featuring leading composers such as Peter Eötvös, Alvin Lucier, Christian Wolff and Kaija Saariaho, and has had performances from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Roberto Fabbriciani, Michael Houstoun, the New Zealand String Quartet, NZTrio, Richard Haynes, the Viennese Saxophonic Orchestra, Ensemble Offspring, Stroma, the Israel Contemporary Players and the Ensemble Pierrot Lunaire Wien.

In 2010, he was commissioned by the SWR (Sudwestdeutsche Rundfunk) to write a new chamber orchestra work, Sgraffito, which was premiered at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2010 by the Radio Chamber Orchestra Hilversum, conducted by Peter Eötvös. Die Zeit reviewed Sgraffito as one of the highlights of the festival. In 2018, Orchestra Wellington premiered Michael’s Violin Concerto (Sama), conducted by Marc Taddei, with Amalia Hall as soloist, and in 2019, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra toured his work Mātauranga (Rerenga) for taonga puoro, live electronics and orchestra, conducted by Carlos Kalmar, with Alistair Fraser on taonga puoro.

Michael is also co-founder and co-director of Stroma New Music Ensemble, and has collaborated with a number of other artists including Daniel Belton and Ashley Brown. He is coordinator of the Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence at the NZSM, serves on the boards of the Lilburn Residence Trust and Stroma New Music Trust, and is the Editor of Wai-te-ata Music Press.

Michael's programming work is also renowned. His 'SoundMagic Spectral' suite of real-time FFT-based audio effects have been used extensively in both industry and academia worldwide, and by artists such as Aphex Twin and Brian Eno.

Composed (62)

14 Islands

for flute/bass flute, percussion, and prepared harp, 10m


electroacoustic work, 11m


for solo piano, 5m


electroacoustic, 10m

Ars Moriendi

for bass clarinet duo, 5m


for flute and piano, 5m


for mixed chamber quintet, 11m


electroacoustic work, 8m


for flute and tape, 10m


for orchestra, 17m

dans les debris du temps

for chamber ensemble, 10m

De corporis fabrica

for amplified solo clarinet and video

Deep Field I

for bass-baritone and live electronics

Deep Field III

for flute and live electronics

dirty pixels

for piano trio, 12m

Eight Maps for the Lost

for cello and live electronics, co-composed with Ashley Brown


for string quartet, 20m

From the Lonely Margins of the Sea

for piano and small orchestra, 11m


for ensemble, 9m

Heart Across Night

for trombone, double bass and drumkit, 7m

Heavy Traffic

for contrabassoon and orchestra, 12m


for saxophone quartet, 9m

Horizon Fields

for piano trio, 16m

Icons and Artifice

for bass clarinet duo, ensemble and electronics

in flexion

for musical saw and tape, 10m

In the Rangitaiki Valley

for mezzo-soprano and piano


for percussion

Inner Phases

for Chinese instrument ensemble and string quartet

Khoomei Loops

for mixed chamber septet, 7m

Kreasi Baru

for gamelan and pre-recorded tape, 9m

Machine Noise

for piano, 6m


for gamelan, 5m

Mapoutahi Stands

for symphony orchestra, 8m


for ensemble


for chamber septet, 8m

Mātauranga (Rerenga)

for orchestra, taonga puoro and live electronics, 12m


for symphony orchestra, 9m

Orbits of Influence

for twelve saxophones, 9m


for voices, brass, woodwinds and percussion


for cello and piano


for vocalising piccolo player


for solo piano, 4m

Roh Gunung (Spirit of the Mountains)

for sampelong and amplified saluang, 7m

Save Yourself

for chamber ensemble, 12m


for large chamber ensemble, 7m 30s


for chamber orchestra

Splinter Cells

for alto/baritone saxophone and chamber ensemble


for throatsinger, ensemble and optional live electronics, 15m


for mixed sextet

Tidal Flow

for amplified percussion quartet and robotic drums, 6m


a live score for dance, in collaboration with choreographer/filmmaker Daniel Belton., 38m

To the names that have left

for vocal ensemble

Traiga Cuentos la Guitarra

for solo guitar, 9m

Tre Canzoni Imperfette

for solo flute

Violin Concerto ‘Sama’

for violin and orchestra, 22m


for chamber ensemble, 6m


for piano and orchestra

Wind Shear

for solo flute, 9m


for baritone saxophone, percussion, electric guitar and piano

Zonam Solvere

for chromatic gamelan and saxophone quartet

Resources (36)

Performances (2)

NZSO | Mātauranga

__Auckland and Wellington__ ---- Michael Norris | __Mātauranga__ Mozart | __Piano Concerto ...

Orchestra Wellington premieres Michael Norris's Violin Concerto

Dvorak’s ‘New World’ is the centrepiece of Orchestra Wellington’s season finale. Featuring Concer...