Nyman's popularity increased significantly after he wrote the soundtrack to the film The Piano in 1993. He also wrote pieces for many other Hollywood films including Gattaca and The End of the Affair.
Among Nyman's better known non-film works are Noises, Sounds & Sweet Airs (1987), for soprano, alto, tenor and instrumental ensemble (based on Nyman's score for La Princesse de Milan); Ariel Songs (1990) for soprano and band; MGV (Musique `a grande vitesee) (1993) for band; concertos for piano (based on The Piano score), harpsichord, trombone and saxophone; the opera The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1987), based on the case-study by Oliver Sacks; and several string quartets.
Many of Nyman's works are written for his own ensemble, the Michael Nyman Band, a group formed for a 1976 production of Carlo Goldoni's Il Campiello. Originally made up of old instruments such as rebecs and shawms alongside more modern instruments like the saxophone in order to produce as loud a sound as possible without amplification, it later switched to a fully amplified lineup of string quartet, three saxophones, bass trombone, bass guitar and piano. This line up has been variously altered and augmented for some works.
Nyman also wrote an influential book in 1974 on experimental music called Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond, which explored the influence of John Cage on classical composers.
He has also recorded pop music, with the Flying Lizards.