Michael Atherton is a writer, composer, and educator from Sydney, Australia. He has enjoyed several careers, including playing rock and roll, working as a music therapist, researching literature, university teaching, and writing books. Michael was educated at the University of New South Wales, the University of New England, and the University of Technology, Sydney.
From a self-taught guitar player to an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Michael continues to explore the materials and processes of sound-making. He can play instruments from the ancient Greek kithara to a contemporary electric wind-synthesizer. Put anything in his hands and it becomes a musical instrument.
His creative output includes concert music, screen composition, cross-cultural collaborations, community music, and artistic direction. His recorded output spans music in many genres, styles, and formats, as evident in his performing career: Michael was a member of the Renaissance Players early music group; Sirocco, a pioneering cross-cultural folk group; and Southern Crossings, an innovative ethno-classic ensemble. Furthermore, he has often featured as a solo artist in festivals, music theatre productions, and children’s music.
Michael has written books on topics including: Oceanic musical instruments; a cultural history of the piano in Australia; a memoir of a Russian-Jewish intellectual exiled by Lenin; and an anthology of poetry.
Michael has achieved awards and honours, including Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (1998); Centenary Medal (2001); Emeritus Professor, Western Sydney University (2012); Order of Australia AM (2018).