Head of Music
Patron: Gwenyth Lennon
Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Michael trained at the School of Music at The University of Auckland during which time he commenced accompanying ballet classes at the Philippa Campbell School of Ballet. This led into a 40-year career in which Michael has accompanied classes, rehearsals, examinations and performances in classical ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, tap and national dance styles. Michael freelanced for many years until 1999, when he accepted a position as pianist at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington.
In 2001 he moved to Germany where he was offered contracts in Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf. After a short-term position at the John Neumeier School and Company of the Hamburg Ballet, he joined The Stuttgart Ballet in 2002. Highlights include working closely with such choreographers as Christian Spuck, Itzik Galili and Wayne McGregor and touring with the Company to America, Egypt and Switzerland.
Michael relocated to Sydney in 2006 as Staff Pianist and Music Administrator for the Royal Academy of Dance in Australia, a position created especially for him. He accompanied examinations and courses for teachers and students throughout the country, and assisted teachers in the musical aspect of their training. He has also accompanied International Summer Schools for the Academy in New Zealand, Singapore and London.
From 2008 – 2013, following two seasons as Guest Company Pianist for the West Australian Ballet’s productions of John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew and Director, Ivan Cavallari’s The Nutcracker, Michael was Repetiteur and Lecturer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at Edith Cowan University. In 2014 he was appointed Music Coordinator & Company Pianist at West Australian Ballet, again, a position created especially for him by Artistic Director, Aurélien Scannella. Highlights have included working with Aurélien & his wife, Sandy Delasalle, on their 2014 production of Giselle, and with Diana White, répétiteur for The Balanchine Trust, in the Company’s 2015 production of Balanchine ballets.
However, Michael’s collaboration with Krzysztof Pastor in the 2018 premiere of Dracula remains the highlight of his career, whilst his arrangement for Dracula of music by Wojciech Kilar received the Performing Arts WA Award for Best Composition or Arranging.
In recognition of his service and increasing responsibilities to the Company, Michael was promoted to Head of Music in 2019.
Michael is well regarded as a skilled and inspiring improviser for ballet class, with an extensive repertoire including all the major classical ballets. He has composed and recorded the music for the Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing classical ballet syllabi, and in his “spare” time Michael is harpsichordist for New Holland Consort. He also accompanies and directs for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Western Australia.