M.O. Abbott began playing classical trombone at age 9, and began self-guided forays into composition in his early teens. Today, M.O.'s foci include computer-assisted algorithmic composition, microtonality and just intonation, and sonification. He is fascinated by stochastic systems and emergent generative forms, and often draws creative inspiration from nature, the mystical, the absurd, and the mundane. He remains an ardent supporter of absolute and abstract music, and risk-taking music based in research, experimentation, speculation, and inquiry.
M.O. Abbott's music has been performed by ensembles such as loadbang and Illinois Modern Ensemble, and esteemed new music performers such as Kevin McFarland, Caleb Burhans, Martha Cluver, Tomoko Ono, Melody Chua, Victor Pons, and Yi-Wen Chen. M.O.'s work has recently been heard at festivals and conferences including ICMC, Diffrazioni, SPLICE, the SCI National Conference, the SEAMUS National Conference, NUNC! 2, and New Music on the Point.
M.O. holds a B.M. in Theory from Eastman School of Music and a M.M. in Music Composition from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. M.O. is now pursuing a D.M.A. at Illinois, where he is the graduate teaching assistant administrator of CAMIL (Computer Assisted Music Instruction Laboratory) and CMP (Computer Music Project). M.O.'s primary composition instructors include Sever Tipei, Heinrich Taube, Scott A. Wyatt, Erik Lund, Erin Gee, Brian Belét, Janis Mercer, and David Liptak. M.O. has had additional lessons or masterclasses with Robert Morris, Marcos Balter, Amy Williams, Elainie Lillios, Ronald Parks, and Ann Cleare, among others.
In addition to his composition work, M.O. continues to perform regularly on tenor and bass trombone. He has performed with myriad groups including Illinois Modern Ensemble, Eastman Musica Nova and Ossia, Eastman Trombone Choir, University of Illinois Trombone Choir, University of Illinois Jazz2, San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, and California Youth Symphony. Presently in the studios of both Elliot Chasanov and Jim Pugh at University of Illinois, M.O. has previously studied trombone with Mark Lawrence and John Marcellus.