Michael Norris is a composer, software programmer and music theorist based in Wellington, New Zealand. He teaches composition, orchestration, sonic arts and post-tonal music theory at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington and is editor of Wai-te-ata Music Press and Co-Director of Stroma New Music Ensemble. He won the 2001 Mozart Fellowship, the 2003 Douglas Lilburn Prize, and the 2014 SOUNZ Contemporary Award, and has participated in composition courses featuring composers such as Peter Eötvös, Alvin Lucier, Christian Wolff and Kaija Saariaho. Performers of Michael's work include the NZ Symphony Orchestra, Roberto Fabbriciani, Michael Houstoun, the NZ String Quartet, NZTrio, Barbara Lüneburg, Lars Mlekusch, Duo Stump-Linshalm, Richard Haynes, the Viennese Saxophonic Orchestra, Ensemble Offspring, Stroma, the Israel Contemporary Players, Ensemble Reconsil (Vienna) and the Ensemble Pierrot Lunaire Wien. His orchestral work Sgraffito was premiered at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2010, conducted by Peter Eötvös, while his orchestral work Claro was premiered by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christian Lindberg.
Michael’s ‘SoundMagic Spectral’ suite of real-time FFT-based AudioUnit plug-ins has been used extensively in both industry and academia worldwide, including by artists such as Aphex Twin and Brian Eno as well as in feature film soundtracks and sound design. Michael's other interests include audio spatialisation, network audio, and computer-aided musicianship and theory tools. His projects include:
- spindrift~: a multichannel granular synthesis external for Max/MSP with automated spatial trajectories
- au~: an external for Max/MSP for hosting AudioUnits
- multipeer~: a set of externals for implementing zero-configuration, multipeer connectivity between Macs running Max/MSP
- a set of Sibelius scripts for generating various pitch-class set rotations
- EarConditioner: a computer-aided musicianship program
Michael's research into music theory extends into various aspects of post-tonal theory, including tone-clock theory, pitch-class set tiling, analysis of New Zealand music (including key analyses of works by Jenny McLeod, Jack Body and Douglas Lilburn), rotation theory (including various new extensions to pc-set rotation) and Neo-Riemannian theory.