Michael Montes

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Michael Montes is a Peruvian-American composer for films, album projects and all other media.

Life and career[edit]

Michael Montes was born in Houston, Texas, the son of American nurse Anne Pryor and Peruvian doctor Mario Montes who came to the United States in the early fifties. The family eventually settled in Eden, NY.[1]

He began piano studies at age seven, quit in frustration with his teacher's methods, returned feverishly on his own at age thirteen and later dropped out of medical school in order to pursue composition as his life's work.

As a child his first film music experience occurred while watching the Jules Verne classic Mysterious Island. Years later he discovered that Bernard Herrmann had composed the score.

Later on Pink Floyd became an influence, specifically their innovative production techniques and use of hallucinatory textures.

While studying at Bard College[1] he joined the chamber choir that specialized in the works of Renaissance composer Josquin des Prez.

After school he steeped himself in the worlds of Brian Eno, tape loops and musique concrète while working on his first commissioned piece, A Porcelain Dream, for modern dance troupe Floorplay.

Moving to New York City he began an extended period of composing in every possible genre for thousands of television commercials while collecting multiple Clio and AICP awards.[2] Several of his pieces are included in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.

He was brought in to work with Aimee Mann's band 'Til Tuesday as keyboardist for their studio album Everything's Different Now and subsequent tour.[3]

He created the Zoar project, a series of dark atmospheric albums. The debut album, Cassandra, was released on the Philip Glass label Point Music.

He began a collaboration with noted filmmaker Bill Morrison scoring his films Ghost Trip, Trinity and Her Violet Kiss [4][5]

He conceived and produced cellist Erik Friedlander's breakthrough solo album Maldoror.[6]

Allan Kozinn of The New York Times called his String Quartet No. 2 "an experiment in intensity...a forceful wave of sound."[7]

Subsequently he has composed scores for numerous films including Joan Stein's Oscar® nominated One Day Crossing, Alexander Olch's The Windmill Movie, Michael Tully's Don't Leave Home and Sophia Takal's Always Shine.[8][9][10][11]

He has been the composer of choice for The TED Conference, The Nobel Prize Summit, The World Science Festival and The AICP Show. His TedTalks opening title music has enjoyed billions of views.[12]

His latest personal albums are Persona Ficta and When the World Was Now.

Favorite authors include Charles Bowden, John Berger, Cormac McCarthy and Karl Ove Knausgård.[1]

He lives in New York City with his son Mario.[1]




  • When the World Was Now (2021)
  • That Cold Dead Look in our Eyes (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2021)
  • The Oil War (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2021)
  • Scenes From an Empty Church (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2021)
  • Don't Leave Home (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2018)
  • Persona Ficta (2017)
  • Always Shine (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2017)
  • King Georges (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2016)
  • Wild Canaries (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2015)
  • Ping Pong Summer (Original Motion Picture Score) (2014)
  • Welcome to the Machine (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2014)
  • Danland (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2012)
  • The Earlier Time (2011)
  • Septien (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2011)
  • Filmscores (2010)
  • Chamber Works (2009)
  • Piano at Dusk (2009)
  • Such Siren Worlds (2008)



  1. ^ a b c d Michael Montes Bio Archived 2012-03-31 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ The Art & Technique of the American Television Commercial
  3. ^ 'Til Tuesday - AllMusic
  4. ^ Ghost Trip (2001) - IMDb
  5. ^ Trinity (2002) - IMDb
  6. ^ Maldoror Home Page Archived 2012-03-21 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Kozinn, Allan MUSIC REVIEW; A Rock Band's Effects In a String Quartet Sound
  8. ^ One Day Crossing (2001) - IMDb
  9. ^ The Windmill Movie (2008) - IMDb
  10. ^ Don't Leave Home (2018) - IMDb
  11. ^ Always Shine (2016) - IMDb
  12. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: Liam Young: Planet City -- a sci-fi vision of an astonishing regenerative future | TED. YouTube.

External links[edit]