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HANDCRAFTED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS FROM DIDJERIDU TO SYNTHESIZER
From Bulgarian zurlas to bass drums, from the delicate lute to the high-tech Fairlight Computer Musical Instrument, Australians make some of the world’s finest musical instruments.
This magnificently illustrated book is the first to tell the story of the people, some world famous, dedicated to coaxing beautiful music from natural and manufactured materials.
It's a book for lovers of music, craft and culture.
This splendid book is not only informative and interesting; its personal and descriptive style of writing also makes it very readable. More importantly, the tireless research demonstrated in this book should be praised for its creative role in alerting us all, Australians in particular, to the wealth and quality of instrument making in Australia. We have continued, with less and less justification, to import and buy expensive foreign instruments which are often no better than our own, and often not as good. We also have exceptional makers who are among the very best in the world. They are deserving of our continued support.
Australian Made, Australian Played will encourage the makers and help guide musicians and the general public towards greater awareness of this growing tradition in Australia.
- John Williams (Australian classical guitar virtuoso)
Michael Atherton is a composer, performer, musicologist and educator. Following postgraduate research in literature at the University of NSW, Michael studied music at the both the University of Sydney and the University of New England, where he was attracted to ethnomusicology. 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, her Excellency the Governor of NSW; pioneered crosscultural music in Sirocco (1980-6); and directed his own ensemble, Southern Crossings (1986-93).
He has performed in many countries for Musica Viva and appeared at major festivals prior to his appointment in 1993 as the Foundation Chair of Music at UWS, 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. He is also composer, performer and researcher with broad experience in music for the concert hall, film, television and radio.
Michael has made numerous CD recordings, documentary film scores and television themes, including the station music for TVS. In 2008 he was a featured composer in the Aurora Festival, with five world premières. He is an elected fellow (FRSA) of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. His awards include a Centenary Medal (2003) for service to the community, and a high commendation for research training and supervision in the VCs Awards for Excellence (2008). In 2009 he co-edited with colleague Bruce Crossman Music of the Spirit: Asian-Pacific Music Identities, a collection of essays focusing on composition and performance aesthetics.
Michael is also a member of SynC, an electroacoustic duo with Garth Paine. Performance highlights include: Aurora Festival 2008; New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) opening concert, New York, June 2007; and NIME/Agora Resonances, Paris, 2006.
Michael's most recent book publication is Musical Instruments and Sound Producing Instruments of Oceania (2010). In 2012, he was guest artistic director at the Powerhouse Discovery Centre, composing music for public events, including a spectacle for motorbikes, drum kits, synthesizers, brass, and voices. He retired from the University of Western Sydney at the end of 2012 and was honoured with the title, Emeritus Professor, for his distinguished contribution to teaching and research in the field of music and service to the University over many years.