Michael Abels

From Wind Repertory Project
Michael Abels


Michael Abels (b. 8 October 1962, Phoenix, Ariz.) is an American composer and arranger.

He spent his early years on a small farm in South Dakota, where he lived with his grandparents. Introduced to music via the family piano, he began showing an innate curiosity towards music at age 4. His music-loving grandparents convinced the local piano teacher to take him on as a student despite his age. At age 8, Abels began composing music, and by age 13, his first completed orchestral work was performed.

Upon graduating from high school, Abels attended the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles. Abels, who is mixed race, eventually studied West African drumming techniques at California Institute for the Arts, and sang in a predominantly black church choir to further explore his African-American roots.

Abels specializes in concert orchestral music, with elements of blues, jazz, and bluegrass music. He is most popularly known for composing the score for the 2017 horror film Get Out directed by Jordan Peele; both the film and its score have been critically acclaimed. Other works include the one-act opera Homies and Popz, with a libretto by Bernardo Solano, commissioned by the Los Angeles Opera and premiered in 2000.

Works for Winds