Hannan's first foray into composition came in 1972, as a jingle writer and composer of music for theatre and film. In the late 1970s he became interested in composing concert music, particularly for the piano, and in 1980 undertook postgraduate studies in composition with Sculthorpe.
Michael Hannan studied musicology at the University of Sydney, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in 1972, and a Ph.D. in 1978. His B.Mus.(Hons.) and doctoral theses were on the music of Peter Sculthorpe, and much of his analytical writing since then has been on Australian composers, Sculthorpe and Ross Edwards in particular. His book on Sculthorpe, Peter Sculthorpe: His Music and Ideas 1929-79, was published in 1982 by the University of Queensland Press.
Hannan's first foray into composition came in 1972, as a jingle writer and composer of music for theatre and film. In the late 1970s he became interested in composing concert music, particularly for the piano, and in 1980 undertook postgraduate studies in composition with Sculthorpe. While studying Ethnomusicology on a Fulbright Postdoctoral Award at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1983 and 1984, he also studied composition with Elaine Barkin.
Hannan's employment history covers a broad range of positions - he has been a lecturer, music education consultant, music curriculum consultant, NSW Higher School Certificate examiner, occasional examiner of M.Mus., Grad.Dip. and B.Mus. composition portfolios and theses, transcriber, editor of music terms for Macquarie Dictionary and A Dictionary of New Words, editorial advisor for Companion to Music in Australia (The Currency Press/Cambridge University Press), and Australian advisor for Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (7th edition). He has published many articles, and has written liner notes, and contributions for books such as the New Grove Dictionary of Opera. He has presented papers at numerous conferences in Australia and overseas, and was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Southern California in 1990.
As a performer of keyboard instruments, Hannan has performed with rock groups, for theatrical performances, and in performances of his own compositions.
Michael Hannan appears on
30 years of piano music by Peter Sculthorpe, one of Australia's finest composers. With exemplary performances by The Team of Pianists, Michael Hannan and Sculthorpe himself.