Michael Smetanin

(b. 1958, Sydney).

Australian composer of mostly stage, orchestral and chamber works that have been performed in Australia, Europe and North America.

Mr. Smetanin earned his BMus in composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music of the University of Sydney in 1981. He then studied with Louis Andriessen at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Den Haag from 1982–84, on a fellowship from the Music Board of the Australia Council, then the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst.

Among his honours are the Sounds Australian Award (1989, for Black Snow), the Sounds Australian National Award (1991, for Spray), First Prize in the competition George Enescu (1992, for Fylgjir ), and the Paul Lowin Orchestral Award (1999, for The Shape of Things to Pass).

He has taught as principal instructor for the Australian Composers Orchestral Forum of the Australian Music Centre and Symphony Australia and has been a lecturer in composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music of the University of Sydney since 1997.


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The Burrow (opera in 1 act, libretto by Alison Croggon), baritone, mixed chorus, flute (+ piccolo, bass flute), 2 saxophones, trumpet, cello, 2 double basses, piano, sampler, 2 percussion, 1993 (also concert version of one section: Where you are I am not, soprano, bass flute, cello, piano)

Gauguin (opera in 2 acts, libretto by Alison Croggon), 2 sopranos, 2 tenors, 2 baritones, flute, oboe (+ oboe d'amore), 2 saxophones, trumpet, trombone, harp, electric guitar, cello, double bass, 2 electronic keyboards, 2 percussion, 4 percussion ad libitum, 1995–96

Lenz (incidental music, play by Alison Croggon), voices–actors, electronic keyboard, cello, fixed media, 1996

The Architects Walk (music-theatre work, libretto by Daniel Keene), dramatic soprano, voics–actors, accordion (+ musette), percussion, fixed media, 1998

Ursula (incidental music, play by Howard Barker), piccolo, flute, bass flute, temple bells from Japan, 1999

The Ecstatic Bible (incidental music, play by Howard Barker), oboe, cello, percussion, 1999–2000


Black Snow, large orchestra (86 players), 1987

Blitz, 1989

Strip, 17 strings, 1991 (may be performed with Shakhmat/Supremat)

Women and Birds in Front of the Moon, large orchestra (94 players), 1994

Shakhmat/Supremat, 17 strings, 1996 (may be performed with Strip)

Roar, bass clarinet, small orchestra (18 players), 1998

The Shape of Things to Pass, 1999

Kuzanagi, 1999


Undertones, bass clarinet, piano, percussion, 1981

The Speed of Sound, 4 percussion, 1983

Lichtpunt, flute, alto flute, piccolo, bass clarinet, 2 violins, cello, piano, percussion, 1983

Per Canonem, 2 piccolos, 2 alto saxophones, 2 trombones, 4 pianos, 2 percussion, 1982–84

Ladder of Escape, 7 bass clarinets, 2 contrabass clarinets, 1984 (also version for bass clarinet, fixed media, 1984)

Track, 2 pan flutes, 2 alto saxophones, trumpet, 2 bass guitars, 2 pianos, 2 electric pianos, 2 percussion, 1984–85

Vault, flute (+ alto flute, piccolo), clarinet, bass clarinet, guitar, violin, double bass, percussion, 1986

Bellevue II, tenor saxophone, trombone, percussion, 1987

Sting, mandolin, 1987

Red Lightning, string quartet, 1988

Fylgjir, flute, piccolo, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, 1989

Strange Attractions, flute, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1990

Spray, amplified alto flute, bass clarinet, piano, 1990

Minimalism isn't dead it just smells funny, 4 percussion, 1990

Hot Block, electric guitar, percussion, live electronics, 1991

Nontiscordardime I, bass flute, 1991

Sharp, bass clarinet, viola, cello, piano, 1991

Spin 0 (Zero), amplified bass recorder, amplified harpsichord, 1991

Nontiscordardime III, flute, 1992

Nontiscordardime II, piccolo, 1993

Tube Makers, bass clarinet, percussion, 1995

Obsession, tenor saxophone, electric guitar, cello, double bass, piano, drum kit, 1995

Chromium Yellow, oboe d'amore, harp, fixed media, 1996

Strange Blades, flute, oboe, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1996

Kartenspiel, 2 pianos, 2 percussion, 1999

Eternal, flute, 2 clarinets, 3 alto saxophones, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, bass trombone, piano, 2000–01

Seas of Steel, 6 percussion, 2001


Adjacent rooms (text by Daniel Keene), soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, 2 baritones, piano, vibraphone, marimba, 1992


Three Songs (text by the composer), 3 female voices, piano, 1981

The Skinless Kiss of Angels, soprano, baritone, flute (+ piccolo), oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, harp, electric guitar, electric mandolin, violin, viola, cello, 2 double basses, piano, percussion, 1990–91

If you're not afraid... (texts by Vladimir Mayakovsky, the composer), high soprano, baritone, flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, electric guitar, electric mandolin, viola, cello, piano, percussion, 1993

Where you are I am not (text by Alison Croggon), soprano, bass flute, cello, piano, 1999 (concert version of section from The Burrow)


Afstand, 2 pianos, 1983

Stroke, 1988

Something's missing here (Ik mis hier iets), 1989


Music for children and dancers, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 1988


Ladder of Escape (second version). Harry Sparnaay, bass clarinet (Attacca Babel: 8945, 1989)

Sting. Paul Hooper, mandolin (Evasound, 1990)

Ladder of Escape (second version). Nigel Westlake, bass clarinet (Jade, 1991)

Minimalism isn't deadit just smells funny. Synergy (ABC Classics, 1993)

Stroke. Lisa Moore, piano (Tall Poppies, 1994)

Ladder of Escape (second version). Nigel Westlake, bass clarinet (Jade, 1994)

Nontiscordardime I; Nontiscordardime II; Nontiscordardime III. Laura Chislett, piccolo, flute, bass flute (ABC Classics, 1995)

Spin; Bellevue II; The Skinless Kiss of Angels; Hot Block. Denis Cohen/Elision (ABC Classics: 446 625-2, 1995)

Sharp. Perihelion (Canberra School of Music, 1996)

Strange Attractions. Sydney Alpha Ensemble (ABC Classics, 1997)

Tube Makers. Henri Bok, bass clarinet; Miguel Bernat, percussion (Globe, 1998)

Kuzanagi. David Porcelijn/Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (ABC Classics, 1999)