Michael Wallace


A creator and arranger of improvised and composed music, Wallace's main instrument is the tenor saxophone. His practice seeks to extend the histories of the tenor saxophone through situated, distributed, and embodied performance.

2022 sees Wallace continuing his ongoing music research through a practice–led PhD candidature at Monash University. His field of enquiry centres on the practice-based investigation of improvised solutions to melodic growth, recordings of which are to be released in 2023.

Wallace is an ongoing collaborator with the Johannes Luebbers Dectet; Andrew Murray's large ensemble ATM15; and the Mace Francis Orchestra.

Between 2013–2015 Wallace resided in Bergen, Norway, where he formed a quartet featuring Thomas Dahl (guitar), Petter Asbjørnsen (bass) & Øyvind Skarbø (drums). He also performed with a variety of musicians and ensembles including Ugo Santangelo, Sambando 6, Frode Grytten, Heine Bugge, Øyvind Hegg–Lunde, Miss Tati, Fagernes Yacht Klubb, Kameleon Orkesteret, Klubb Kavalér, Vestlandske Selskabs Orkester, Norvald Dahl and Ole Amund Gjersvik.

At The University of Melbourne Wallace undertook research into the multiple methods of music improvisation education, which resulted in The Map is not the Territory: Reconsidering Music Improvisation Education (2012).

Studies with Julien Wilson, Jamie Oehlers, and Doug de Vries at Monash University culminated in body of compositions and performances with Marc Hannaford, Sam Anning, and Ben Hendry, accompanied by the exegesis Unifying Composition and Improvisation (2007).

Between 2003–2005 and 2008–2009 he resided in Bergen, Norway, working as a freelance saxophonist — performing with a constellation of ensembles and musicians from within the Bergen music world.

Wallace has worked alongside visual artist Carmel Wallace creating music for large–scale sculpture installations and documentary films. These projects include: Lorne Lode: Sampling the Core a live performance with sculputres at the Lorne Sculpture Biennale 2022; the soundtracks to Flora (2014) and Illuminated by Fire, Portland (2011) (screened at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Federation Square, Melbourne, as part of The Light in Winter arts festival); a commission by the Australia Council for the Arts in 2003 to write music to accompany in situ an installation of seven floating sculptures in Portland harbour titled Marine Markers.

In 2002 Wallace graduated with a Bachelor of Music Performance with Honours, majoring in composition and arranging, from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth. There he studied composition and arranging with Graeme Lyall, Graeme Collier, John Hoffman, and saxophone with Roger Garrood, and jazz improvisation with Ray Walker.

Download high resolution press photos taken by Øystein Haara