Do you like scary movies? What about scary…music – is that something that you don’t mind taking a listen to on a dark and stormy evening? There are more people who have written creepy compositions than I could possibly name, but one of them in particular has done so in way that’s grabbed the attention of brand new listeners all around the globe. Hi there – my name’s Loki Karuna, and on this edition of Noteworthy I’d like for you and I to spend a couple minutes with the composer of this scary score – the one and only Michael Abels.

In 2017, Michael Abels became a name that many more people became familiar with, thanks to his work with Jordan Peele in the creation of the score to a movie called Get Out – the score won best original score the same year in the International Online Cinema Awards. Two years later, the Michael and Jordan partnered again, creating this genre defying sound experience that accompanied a film called Us.

While film scores are largely what keep Michael Abels’ name in the general zeitgeist, he’s done lots more, including co-writing an opera called Omar with musician Rhiannon Giddens, which earned them both the Pulitzer Prize in 2023. Michael Abels has continued his film scoring work alongside his work writing music for the concert stage, and has quickly earned for himself the title of one of today’s most Noteworthy composers.

Noteworthy is a production of WDAV classical public radio.

Pictured: Michael Abels by Eric Schwabel.