From 1969 Denley studied flute with Peter Richardson, at the Sydney Conservatorium, who introduced him to the works of Varese, Fukushima, Messiaen and Berio. He was listening to improvisers such as Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Dolphy, Braxton and Derek Bailey. David Ahern’s Sydney groups Teletopa and AZ Music were influential.
In 1983 he studied in Tokyo with shakuhachi master Yamaguchi Goro. While there he played concerts with many improvising musicians.
An emphasis on spontaneity, site-specific work and collaboration has been important. He sees no clear distinctions between his roles as instrumentalist, improviser and composer