Australian Miniseries: The Hairyworm Hobble (Michael Sollis)


Michael Sollis Composer
Kiri Sollis Piccolo

Whooping-cough may be cured by tying a live hairyworm (caterpillar) into a small bag, which is hung around the neck of the patient, and as it decomposes, the cough will decrease.


Can you hear the Hairyworm?

The Hairyworm Hobble was written for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and my wife and collaborator Kiri Sollis.

– Michael Sollis

The Hairyworm Hobble was premiered online on 28 August 2020.

Portrait of Michael Sollis squatting and looking upwards towards a source of light.
Michael Sollis, Australian composer (Image: Keith Saunders)

Michael creates captivating artistic journeys by sharing diverse worldviews with curious people, inviting audiences to discover and question the world around them. This has included his work as founder, composer, and director of The Griffyn Ensemble, and the very first Artistic Director, Education for Musica Viva Australia – working with Australia’s finest musicians to give over 280,000 students every year the best opportunity to discover music and creativity.

Michael is among the most sought-out creative voices in Australia, producing new work through diverse collaborations – whether it be with visual artists, dancers, astronomers, geneticists, farmers, or rugby league clubs. This has included work across Australia from rural Tennant Creek to his home city of Canberra, and internationally from Papua New Guinea to Norway. As an Australian composer his works have been performed by groups such as the Australian String Quartet, the Australian Voices, and internationally by exhAust, the peärls before swïne experience, and Red Note Ensemble.

Michael’s passion for music is matched by his passion for rugby league, having been a first-grade stalwart for the Gungahlin Bulls in the Canberra Raiders Cup. Michael is also a noted researcher, with his work on sung stories in the Papua New Guinea highlands published by ANU E-Press and the Australian Journal of Linguistics.

Kiri Sollis holding a piccolo. Her forearm is covering her face.
Kiri Sollis, CSO Piccolo (Image: Martin Ollman)

Kiri Sollis is a Canberra-based performer and teacher, specialising in piccolo and contemporary chamber music. Kiri is flautist for The Griffyn Ensemble, one of Australia’s most innovative chamber groups. With Griffyn, Kiri has collaborated with leading musicians from around the world, including working in Scotland with the UK’s Red Note Ensemble and hosting musicians from Sweden, Poland, the UK and China in Canberra. Kiri has performed over 50 Australian premieres and over 15 world premieres as a chamber musician and soloist.

Kiri has extensive experience as an educator and ensemble mentor. She currently teaches 30 students through her private studio and at Radford College, where she also conducts a concert band. Kiri has a Master of Music from the Australian National University and has been based in Canberra since 2005.


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