Featured Collaborator: Michael Bakrnčev
A multi-award-winning composer, Michael Bakrnčev (Мајкл Бакрнчев) is one of Australia’s most highly-driven and successful young professionals in that field.
Born in Melbourne in 1989, Michael’s family had migrated from Macedonia to Australia in the 1960s and brought with them a rich tapestry of their country’s folklore, religion, traditional cuisine, dance and, of course, music.
In 2013, as a student of leading Brisbane composer, Gerard Brophy, Michael graduated with First Class Honours in Composition from the Queensland Conservatorium – Griffith University. During that time his passion and understanding of Macedonian folk music began to intertwine with modern classical music practice. Since then, his musical language has increasingly adopted this inherited landscape, so much so that it has become part of his creative DNA.
Now residing in Melbourne, after receiving the highly coveted Australian Postgraduate Award, Michael is currently undertaking a Masters degree, studying with acclaimed composers, Elliott Gyger and Brenton Broadstock at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music – University of Melbourne, where he is also a tutor in Orchestration.
Michael’s music has already been performed extensively throughout Western and Eastern Europe including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Serbia, Macedonia, Belarus, Spain, Ukraine, and in the USA, Canada and Australia.
Performers have included the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra (Македонската филхармонија), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Contemporary Orchestra, the Australian Youth Orchestra at its National Music Camp, the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Metropolitan Sinfonietta, The Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra, and some of Australia’s best community orchestras, as well as prominent ensembles, chamber groups and soloists.
Festivals programming his music have included the Days of Macedonian Music (DMM) in Skopje, ITEC World Tuba and Euphonium Convention in Austria, 16th World Saxophone Conference in Scotland, 2013 Australasian Clarinet and Saxophone Conference in Sydney, Ukraine’s 2014 Two Days & Two Nights Festival, Madrid’s 2015 ClarinetFest, and the 2015 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.
Michael’s many awards include the Music Teachers’ Association of Queensland (MTAQ) Composition Competition (2011), the June Fox Patron Award (2011), the Vox Novus Fifteen Minutes of Fame prize (New York City, 2011), the Adolph Spivakovsky Scholarship for the Composition of Music (2012), the A G Francis Prize for Composition, the Alan Lane Award for Composition, the Silver Harris and Jeff Peck Award (Composition), and the Piano Trio section of the 2015 Australian New Works Award. Michael was also one of five finalists in the Development Awards section of the Melbourne Prize for Music 2013.
Accepted invitations into some of the best composer development programs offered in Australia have included MODART13 (with Sydney’s The Song Company), a work commissioned by the Arts Centre Melbourne for the 2013 5x5x5 Composer Development Project, the Australian Youth Orchestra’s National Music Camp, and a commission from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as part of the 2015 Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program.
A recent commission was for a new work for piano pédalier, the first ever by an Australian composer, to be performed by the instrument’s revivalist, world-renowned Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda. Current works-in-progress include new pieces for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian saxophonist Cameron Millar now based in the Netherlands, and Melbourne’s Rubiks Collective.
Michael’s music has been recorded in Australia and abroad by ABC Classic FM, the Barega Saxophone Quartet, the Quartertones Flute Quartet, the Macedonian Philharmonic and the Dare CD Project.
Michael is a member of the Australian Music Centre, the national organisation through which he is promoted and his music is made available internationally. In 2012 he joined the Composers’ Association of Macedonia (SOCOM) (Сојуз на композиторите на Македонија) which hailed him as its youngest member ever.
In addition to being active as a composer, Michael is also founder and artistic director of the Melbourne Metropolitan Sinfonietta, which gives several concerts a year dedicated to the promotion of Australian composers’ music.