composer, sound artist & teacher

Michael McDermott has created works for film, dance, stage, installation, smart phones, multi-speaker arrays, piano, wishing wells, electric gardens and dreamers. His practice explores the relationship between present moment awareness, deep time and humanity’s personal connection through listening. His work integrates meditation, Deep Listening and textured sound worlds through a process called “sonic photography”. This process involves site-specific recordings of physical spaces re-imagined using photographic development and collage techniques. His aim is to reframe the everyday world as an infinite statement that stretches out in both directions of time and as an ephemeral instant of precious connection. Michael was Artist in Residence at <fidget>, Composer in Residence for Temple University’s BEEP Ensemble and is Composer in Residence at Village of the Arts and Humanities. He recently completed a certification program in Deep Listening studying with Deep Listening pioneer Pauline Oliveros. Recent and upcoming artist residencies include Ayatana (Ottawa, Canada), Casa Na Ilha (Ilhabela Brazil), Listhus (Ólafsfjördur, Iceland), Leibig12 (Berlin, Germany), Com Peung (Chiang Mai, Thailand), PECAH (Uttarkhand, India).


24-25 March
BHOR Arts Center
Ramnagar, India
PECAH Residency Group ShowBuy Tickets
14 April
Philadelphia, US
Event HorizonBuy Tickets
20 April
University City Arts League
Philadelphia, US
St. Bernard Lion Art InstallationBuy Tickets
20-22 April
Performance Garage
Philadelphia, PA
Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet presents HUMANBuy Tickets
19 May
Lake Studio Berlin
Berlin, Germany
Overnight Sleep ConcertBuy Tickets
21 May
Madame Claude
Berlin, Germany
duo w/ William "Bilwa" CostaBuy Tickets
23 May
Mooste, Estonia
duo w/ William "Bilwa" CostaBuy Tickets
25 May
Talin, Estonia
duo w/ William "Bilwa" CostaBuy Tickets
26 May
UNDER / Electronic Musik Festival
Riga, Latvia
duo w/ William "Bilwa" CostaBuy Tickets
31 May
Skaņas dienas (Sound Days) Festival
Aizpute, Latvia
duo w/ William "Bilwa" CostaBuy Tickets
5 June
Linz, Austria
duo w/ William "Bilwa" CostaBuy Tickets
7 June
Wroclaw, Poland
duo w/ William "Bilwa" CostaBuy Tickets
8 June
Osobliwy Poniedziałek
Krakow, Poland
duo w/ William "Bilwa" CostaBuy Tickets
10 June
Kolonia Artystów
Gdańsk, Poland
duo w/ William "Bilwa" CostaBuy Tickets
14 June
Berlin, Germany
duo w/ Katrine FaberBuy Tickets

outer landscapes

Through my formal study of Deep Listening and meditation I’ve come to appreciate our connection through listening. Below are some recent works of environmental based sounds and field recording. Many of these work used a technique I’ve dubbed “sonic photography” where field recordings are formatted and treated using photographic processing techniques like double exposure, long exposure, collage, negative image and color treatments. Also many of these pieces have been featured on the great site Cities and Memory.

inner landscapes

still, serene and supportive soundscapes distilling the essence of meditation and contemplation into listening consciousness

Music for Dance

I have created original scores, sound design and live improvised music for many choreographers and dance companies over the years. Some of my collaborators include Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet, Here Begin Dance, Gia T Presents, Jil Stifel, Perpetual Movement and Sound, Jaamil Kosoko, Erin Foreman-Murray and Ring Dance Theater.

Music for Film

Over the years, I’ve had the great pleasure of working as a film composer and sound designer for a wide range of films, videos and ads. Please get in touch if you’re a film maker or video artist looking to collaborate.




Dissolve by Mikronesia Rooted in a practice of Deep Listening, Mikronesia presents Dissolve, an hour-long continuous sonic meditation on the nature and ultimate dissolution of self. The album was recorded…



Whether you believe you are walking into dead geographical location, which is used to get to a destination, or whether you are emerging out into a landscape that is just…


VAH Sound Map

As part of my composer residency at Village of Arts and Humanities, I taught a class on Sound Mapping for the summer session.  I led a class of aspiring sound…


Lakshmi’s Gifts

The Goddess Lakshmi bestows abundance and prosperity and reminds us that the flow of giving and receiving are interconnected. We offer you this special recording entitled Lakshmi’s Gifts by Binaural…



In the sounds of everyday life shines the luminous ground of infinite space. Deep in the stillness of silent becoming we can experience the interconnected web, present and waiting to…


Mixes from the Field

Mixes from the Field was initiated by Sharon Stewart and Michael McDermott at the end of 2016 and integrates Deep Listening, field recording, social justice, sonic ecology, meditation and music…



Set over Longwood Gardens’ expansive grounds in Kennett Square, PA, Nightscapecombines the projection mapping technology of Klip Collective with the sounds of Sun Airway, Pink Skull and Mikronesia, and leads…

field recordings


Various field recordings from the Ayatana Artist Research Residency in Canada where we recorded natural sounds working with biology and animals experts.



Temporal (Michael McDermott, 2016) is a score for an ensemble of musicians playing found sound recordings captured from Temple University in Philadelphia commissioned by BEEP (THE BOYER ELECTROACOUSTIC ENSEMBLE PROJECT). Students…


Liberation Through Hearing In the Intermediate State

Twelve hour sleep music concert footage performed by Michael McDermott at fidget. This work was inspired and patterned after the Tibetean Book of the Dead as a symbol for death/sleep/Bardo/waking…

music for dance


Premiered at Christ Church Neighborhood House, Philadelphia, February 2016 Choreography: Nora Gibson Sound Score composed by: Mikronesia Lighting Design: Katinka Marac NGCB Dancers: Amy Novinski, Sean Thomas-Boyt, Melissa McCarten, Gina…

music for dancemusic for film

Dark Matter

film by Zornitsa Stoyanova sound by Michael McDermott performance Christina Gesualdi, Nicole Bindler and Zornitsa Stoyanova Dark Matter – trailer from Zornitsa Stoyanova on Vimeo.


Event Horizon

In 2013 and 2015 I performed at the music series Event Horizon. For both performances I used a simple setup of acoustic piano and iPad running the application Samplr to process the sounds…

field recordings

Corca Dhuibhne

Originally posted on Cities and Memory. Here’s a lovely piece from the south of Ireland courtesy of Michael McDermott, who tells the story of today’s sound piece like this: “My…

field recordings

World Listening Day

Our next visit for World Listening Day 2015 is to the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, as heard and reimagined by local artist Michael McDermott, who tells us something of the…


In a River the Color of Lead

In a River the Color of Lead was released by NOREMIXES in March 2015. It was pressed to vinyl thanks to the support of a successful Kickstarter campaign Press release from the label about…

music for dance

2-57,885,161 -1

Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet in 2^57,885,161 – 1 from Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet on Vimeo. Choreography: Nora Gibson Music composed by: Michael Reiley McDermott Video animation: Derek Smith Dancers: Melissa…



For much of 2014 I worked on a suite of very still and subtle music. Perhaps this was a merging of my music and meditation practice. Perhaps this was a…



Sound art installation piece presented at Little Berlin Gallery in Feb 2014. Capsule was part of the show Never Like Like It Is Now which featured pieces relating to ice. For…


Edge of Nostalgia

Edge of Nostalgia or EON is an interactive album application that I worked on for much of 2012 and 2013. It’s essentially an app that uses the microphone on your…

music for film


For The Fidget Fall Experimental Music Festival Nora Gibson and myself were asked to create a music and dance work. We decided to show a work-in-progress for a large media…

music for dance

Frequency of Structure and Flow

GIA T – Frequency of Structure and Flow (Excerpts) from Mikronesia on Vimeo. Excerpts from a 60 minutes dance / installation piece premiered in 2013 at Wood Street Galleries in…


Torn Ivory

Torn Ivory is a saturated forest of delicate acoustic piano framed by a flickering stream of static textures. The acoustic piano was recorded initially at Marlborough College in the Vermont…

music for dance

Solo Phase

Solo Phase by Nora Gibson Performance Project from Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet on Vimeo. Solo Phase by Nora Gibson Performance Project from Nora Gibson on Vimeo. Choreography: Nora GibsonLighting Design:…


Serpents as Doves

Serpents As Doves by Gemini Wolf Gemini Wolf’s fifth release is a collection of hard hitting analog dance pop that eventually gives way to it’s own droney undertows. The first…


Ghost Tones

Piece for Disklavier and electronics. Performed live at thefidget space for the Experimental Music Festival. Ghost Tones (Excerpts) from Mikronesia on Vimeo.



ALOTones was an advertising campaign from Agency Magma in NYC. For this campaign I was commissioned to write seven original tracks for the seven flavors of ALO. On the side…


Infinite Sand Dunes

Infinite Sand Dunes by Gemini Wolf Infinite Sand Dunes is split in two. The first side features four songs punctuated by tribal percussion, beds of electronic noise and sung and…


Where It Was, There I Shall Be

Mixed Media Installation (materials, sound, video and photographs) by Michael McDermott, Derek Moench and Megan Cauley. This installation explored the concept of “The Shadow Self” by Carl Jung. The piece…

music for film

Paloma and Raúl in San Serriffe

An excerpt of a film by J. Louise Makary (the full film can be viewed here – Music by Michael McDermott performed by janus. Paloma and Raúl in San…

music for dance

Side [By] Side

Performed at the 2009 Philadelphia Fringe Festival by Here[Begin]Dance under the direction of Zornitsa Stoyanova. Featuring live music score by Mikronesia. Side by Side performed by Here[Begin]Dance (Excerpt) from Mikronesia…



Sound and sculpture installation by Michael McDermott and Mike Murray. Installed at Little Berlin in November 2008. Cochlea (review by the artblog) from Mikronesia on Vimeo.



Flute Quartet by Michael McDermott entitled Tomas. Performed by Danielle Brosious, Bob Carpency Heather Fortune, Jacquelyn Howell on flutes and Michael McDermott on electronics. This was part of a performance at Nexus…



Sound artist Mikronesia has embarked on his stillest and most minimal album to date. Host is a two part tale of journeying. The first track contains field recordings taken from…

music for dance

Assembling Minutiae

For the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2008. I composed a piece of music called “Pure” for a new dance / film piece by my colleagues Perpetual Mvmt<>Snd. The music I…



This is one of my person favorite recordings I’ve ever done. It was one of the first things I recorded in our new studio in the house we bought in…


Perfect Sec0nds

This was our first and only studio recording done as “Perpetual Mvmt<>Snd” (Bilwa and Mikronesia). We did the recording in one weekend using a variety of synthesizers, percussion and effects….


Iris or Comfortable Too

Iris or Comfortable Too was my second album for Gears of Sand. For this record I limited my sound source to a grand piano which I recorded late one night my…


Tissue Paper Ghosts

Tissue Paper Ghosts was my first official Mikronesia album released on Gear of Sand in February of 2006. The album is a loose concept album based on the psychic remains…