M.O. Abbott is a Berlin-based composer, trombonist, music educator, and researcher. His creative foci include computer-assisted algorithmic composition, microtonality, just intonation, and electroacoustic composition. 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 Harmonic Space Orchestra, 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, 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. also remains an active and versatile performer on alto, tenor, and bass trombones. 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. He is a core member of the Harmonic Space Orchestra, a Berlin-based ensemble specializing in just intonation works.
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. has studied trombone with Mark Lawrence, John Marcellus, Jim Pugh, and Elliot Chasanov. He has had additional lessons with William Lang, Felix Del Tredici, Hilary Jeffrey, 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, where he served as the systems administrator of CAMIL (Computer-Assisted Music Instruction Laboratory) and CMP (Computer Music Project). At Illinois he also worked as a teaching assistant for undergraduate music technology, music theory, and aural skills classes, as a research assistant for EMS (Experimental Music Studios), as webmaster for the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award, and as an IT specialist for the College of Fine and Applied Arts.