Michael Norris is Programme Leader, Composition at the New Zealand School of Music. He holds composition degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and City University, London. In 2003, Michael won the Douglas Lilburn Prize, a nationwide competition for orchestral composers. He has participated in composition courses featuring leading composers such as Peter Eötvös, Alvin Lucier, Christian Wolff and Kaija Saariaho. His chamber orchestra work Sgraffito was commissioned by the SWR (Sudwestdeutsche Rundfunk) and premiered at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2010 by the Radio Chamber Orchestra Hilversum, conducted by Peter Eötvös. In 2008, Michael organised the CANZ Composers Conference at the New Zealand School of Music, and is Secretary General of the Asian Composers League. Michael maintains many active connections with performers, ensembles and composers worldwide, especially in Vienna, where he often spends time.
An immensely versatile conductor, Hamish McKeich works regularly in Australia and Europe and conducts all the major Orchestras in New Zealand. He has performed in New Zealand, Australia, China, the Netherlands, Italy, England, Austria, Switzerland, France and Germany. From 2002-2006 he was Associate Conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and performs regularly with them to this day. He has given over 80 world premieres of new works and is also chief conductor of the contemporary ensembles Stroma and 175East. He has worked many orchestras and chamber ensembles, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, ELISION ensemble, Metropole Orkest of the Netherlands Radio, Asko Ensemble of Holland, Stroma, Sydney Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, 175 East, Auckland Philharmonia, Christchurch Symphony and the EX Orchestra, amongst others. He has recently toured China as Music Director of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of New Zealand, performing in Bejing's Zhongshan Music Hall and in Chengdu. Hamish McKeich studied conducting with legendary teacher and pedagogue Ilya Musin and also prominent conductors Valery Gergiev, Sian Edwards and Peter Eötvös. McKeich was a finalist of the Gergiev Festival Conductors Masterclass, under the guidance of Professor Ilya Musin and Valery Gergiev. He started his career as bassoonist, first learning off his father, Ross McKeich. At 19, he became Associate Principal Bassoon with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and thereafter performing in orchestra's in Britain and Holland. Highlights of Hamish McKeich's immediate upcoming engagements include regular concerts and recordings with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, The Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana, an 18 city tour of the USA, further concerts with the Metropole Orkest of the Netherlands Radio, Auckland Philharmonia, Christchurch Symphony, amongst others. Hamish also conducts and directs contemporary and experimental performances with New Zealand's two premiere music ensembles, Stroma and 175 East.