Michael Abels

Michael Abels (born October 8, 1962) is an American composer best known for his genre-defying scores for the Jordan Peele films Get Out and Us, for which Abels won a World Soundtrack Award, the Jerry Goldsmith Award, a Critics Choice nomination, and multiple' critics awards. The hip-hop influenced score for Us was short-listed for the Oscars and was even named “Score of the Decade” by TheWrap. Other recent media projects include the films Bad Education, Nightbooks, Fake Famous, and the docu-series Allen v. Farrow. Current releases include Beauty which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and is now streaming on Netflix, Breaking (formerly 892) which premiered at Sundance, and his third collaboration with Jordan Peele, Nope.

Michael Abels – photo by Eric Schwabel

Abels’ works also includes many concert works, such as At War With Ourselves for the Kronos Quartet,[1] Isolation Variation for Hilary Hahn, and the opera Omar co-composed with Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Rhiannon Giddens.[2][3] Some of these pieces are available on the Cedille Records, including Delights & Dances and Winged Creatures. Current commissions include a work for the National Symphony Orchestra and a guitar concerto for Mak Grgić.[4]

Abels is co-founder of the Composers Diversity Collective, an advocacy group to increase visibility of composers of color in film, gaming and streaming media.[5]

Early lifeEdit

Abels was born in Phoenix, Arizona. 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.[6] 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.[7]

Upon graduating from high school, Abels attended the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles. Abels, who is mixed race,[8] 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.[9]

FilmographyEdit

Composer

Additional music

Other worksEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2017 Fright Meter Awards Best Score Get Out Nominated
World Soundtrack Awards Discovery of the Year Nominated
International Online Cinema Awards Best Original Score Won
2018 International Film Music Critics Awards Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film Nominated
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Score Won
2019 Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award Best Original Score Us Won
World Soundtrack Awards Discovery of the Year Won
Indiana Film Journalists Association Best Musical Score Won
Greater Western New York Film Critics Association Awards Best Score Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Original Score Nominated
Phoenix Critics Circle Best Score Nominated
Seattle Film Critics Society Awards Best Original Score Nominated
Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Original Score- Horror Film Won
Fright Meter Awards Best Score Won
2020 51st NAACP Image Award Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album Nominated
Critics Choice Awards Best Score Nominated
Black Reel Award Outstanding Score Won
Latino Entertainment Journalists Association Film Award Best Music Nominated
Music City Film Critics' Association Award Best Score Nominated
North Carolina Film Critics Association Best Music Nominated
Online Film & Television Association, OFTA Film Award Best Music, Original Score Nominated
Society of Composers and Lyricists Awards Outstanding Original Score for a Studio Film Nominated
Austin Film Critics Association Awards Best Score Nominated
International Film Music Critics Award Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film Nominated
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Best Score Won
Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle Award Best Original Score Won
Georgia Film Critics Association Original Score Nominated
Gold Derby Awards Original Score Nominated
Hawaii Film Critics Society Best Original Score Nominated
Hollywood Critics Association Best Score Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Awards Best Original Score Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Original Score Won

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "At War With Ourselves - 400 Years of You". University of South Carolina. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  2. ^ Cooper, Michael. "Rhiannon Giddens is Writing An Opera". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  3. ^ "Omar, A World Premiere Opera in 2022". Spoleto Festival USA. 2021. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  4. ^ Grgic, Mak. "GUITAR CONCERTO BY MICHAEL ABELS WITH ROCO ORCHESTRA". MakGrgic.com. Schmidt Artists International, Inc.
  5. ^ "Composer for 'Get Out' and 'Us' Talks Diversity, Inclusiveness in Music". NBCUniversal Media. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  6. ^ De Lerma, Dominique-Rene. "African Heritage Symphonic Series Vol. III". Liner note essay. Cedille Records CDR066.
  7. ^ "Michael Abels: Biography". Kennedy Center. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  8. ^ "Michael Abels, Composer Of Jordan Peele's Us, Balances Terror With Empathy". NPR. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  9. ^ Davis, Andrew. "Michael Abels: A composer makes 'Waves'". Windy City Times. Windy City Media Group. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  10. ^ Cooper, Michael (June 11, 2019). "Rhiannon Giddens Is Writing an Opera". The New York Times. p. C3. Retrieved July 7, 2022.

External linksEdit