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.



Norris, M, ‘Tonal Desires: Convention and Transgression in the Harmonic Procedures of Three Non-Transcriptive Works by Jack Body’, Canzona, 26 (2007), 58–67
Norris, M, ‘Crystalline Aphorisms: Commentary and Analysis of Jenny McLeod’s Tone Clock Pieces I-VII’, Canzona 2006, 26 (2008), 74–86
Norris, M, ‘Tessellations and Enumerations: Generalising Chromatic Theories’, Canzona 2006, 26 (2008), 93–100
Norris, Michael, ‘Harmonic Stratification in the Instrumental and Electronic Music of Douglas Lilburn’, in Searches for Tradition: Essays on New Zealand Music, Past and Present (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2017)
Norris, Michael, ‘Apropos Appropriation: Jack Body in conversation’, Canzona, 2007, 40–43
Norris, M., ‘"A Kind of Travelling”: Reflections on the Role of Musical Transcription in Works by Jack Body’, Keynote address, Jack Body Conference, Zhejiang Conservatory of Music, 2015
Norris, M., ‘Inscapes and Soundscapes: Semantic, Harmonic, Timbral, and Spatial Stratification in Lilburn’s Electroacoustic Music’, 2015

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:


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 New Zealand School of Music | Te Kōkī at 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.