Michael Abels is best-known for his scores for the Oscar-winning film Get Out, and for Jordan Peele’s Us, for which Abels won the World Soundtrack Award, the Jerry Goldsmith Award, a Critics Choice nomination, an Image Award nomination, and multiple critics awards. The hip-hop influenced score for Us was short-listed for the Oscar, and was even named “Score of the Decade” by online publication The Wrap. Abels other works include Spike Lee’s Sci-Fi feature, See You Yesterday starring Michael J. Fox on Netflix and Fantasea at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. Upcoming for Abels is the Hugh Jackman film Bad Education for HBO.
As a concert composer, Abels has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and from Meet The Composer, and his orchestral works have been performed by the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and many others. With a “keen ear for musical color and a deft ability to adapt structural elements from popular music into the symphonic idiom,” (Houston Chronicle) Michael Abels has gained widespread recognition for his works Global Warming, Delights & Dances, Urban Legend, and choral pieces such as Be The Change and Limitless.
Born in Phoenix, AZ, Abels attended the University of Southern California where he studied with James Hopkins and Robert Linn. Later on in his collegiate career, he studied West African music with Alfred Ladzekpo at the California Institute for the Arts. He currently serves as Director of Music for New Roads School in Santa Monica.
Michael is a past recipient of grants and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet The Composer, LA Opera, and many orchestras throughout the country. In his concert career he has worked with James Earl Jones, Doc Severinsen, and a diverse group of other musical artists. Abels is co-founder of the Composers Diversity Collective, an advocacy group to increase visibility of composers of color in film, game and streaming media.