Following postgraduate research in literature at the University of NSW (BA Hons, MA Hons), Michael studied music at the University of Sydney and the University of New England, where he was attracted to ethnomusicology. He researched cultural history at the University of Technology Sydney (PhD). 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; pioneered cross-cultural music in Sirocco (1980-6); and founded the ensemble, Southern Crossings (1986-93). He performed overseas for Musica Viva and appeared at major festivals before his appointment in 1993 as the Foundation Professor of Music at Western Sydney University, where he led the development of teaching and research with a focus on a range of Australian expressions in our time. Michael is considered an expert in musical instruments and sound-making objects, especially those of Australia and the Asia-Pacific. His book, Australian Made, Australian Played, republished in 2015, was the first to draw attention to Australian luminaries in the design and construction of musical instruments.