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. He is fascinated by stochastic systems and emergent generative forms, and often draws creative inspiration from science, nature, the mystical, the absurd, and the mundane. M.O. remains an ardent supporter of absolute and abstract music, and risk-taking music based in research, experimentation, speculation, and inquiry.
M.O.'s music has been conducted by Petr Kotik and Stephen Andrew Taylor, and performed by ensembles such as loadbang and Illinois Modern Ensemble, and by esteemed new music interpreters such as Caleb Burhans, Yi-Wen Chen, Melody Chua, Martha Cluver, Elizabeth Gartman, Nathan Mandel, Kevin McFarland, Tomoko Ono, Victor Pons, and Lucas Marshall Smith. M.O.'s work has recently been heard at festivals and conferences including Ostrava Days, ICMC, Diffrazioni, the SCI National Conference, the SEAMUS National Conference, the National Student Electronic Music Event, Electronic Music Midwest, and New Music on the Point. Along with pianist Whitney Ashe, M.O. was awarded the 19th Annual 21st Century Piano Commission. He has also been recognized with a Presser Graduate Music Award.
M.O.'s primary composition instructors include Marc Sabat, Sever Tipei, Heinrich Taube, Scott A. Wyatt, Erik Lund, Erin Gee, Brian Belét, Janis Mercer, and David Liptak. He has had additional lessons or masterclasses with Robert Morris, Christian Wolff, Klaus Lang, Ann Cleare, Amy Williams, Elainie Lillios, Marcos Balter, and Ronald Parks, among others.
M.O. also remains an active and versatile performer on trombone. He has appeared with myriad groups including Ostravská banda, Ostrava New Orchestra, Illinois Modern Ensemble, Eastman Musica Nova and Ossia, Sinfonia da Camera, Eastman Trombone Choir, University of Illinois Trombone Choir, University of Illinois Jazz Repertory Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.
M.O. has studied trombone with Mark Lawrence, John Marcellus, Jim Pugh, and Elliot Chasanov. He has had additional lessons with William Lang, Felix Del Tredici, and Reginald Chapman. He has also attended the Darmstädter Ferienkurse Brass Academy.
M.O. holds a B.M. in Music Theory from Eastman School of Music and a M.M. in Music Composition from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. M.O. is now a D.M.A. candidate at Illinois, where he served for several years as the systems administrator of CAMIL (Computer-Assisted Music Instruction Laboratory) and CMP (Computer Music Project). At Illinois he has also worked as a teaching assistant for undergraduate music technology, music theory, and aural skills classes, and as a research assistant for EMS (Experimental Music Studios).
As of January 2020, M.O. Abbott resides in Berlin, Germany.
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