Michael Montes is a composer of music for films, album projects and all other media. He was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Anne Pryor, an American nurse and Mario Montes, a Peruvian doctor who came to the United States in the early fifties. The family eventually settled in idyllic Eden, NY.
He began piano studies at age seven, quit in rage and frustration, returned feverishly 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 he joined the chamber choir that specialized in the works of Renaissance composer Josquin des Prez. After school he steeped himself in the world of Brian Eno, tape loops and musique concréte while working with modern dance troupe Floorplay.
Moving to New York City he began an extended period of composing in every possible genre for television commercials while collecting multiple Clio and AICP awards. 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 album Everything’s Different Now and subsequent tour.
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 and Trinity.
He conceived and produced cellist Erik Friedlander’s breakthrough solo album Maldoror. Allan Kozinn of The New York Times called his String Quartet No. 2 “an experiment in intensity…a forceful wave of sound.”
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. His latest personal albums are Persona Ficta and When the World Was Now. He lives in New York City with his son Mario.