Michael Abene is a composer, arranger, keyboard player and record producer and as of 2004 was Musical Director-Principal Arranger/Composer of the WDR Radio Big Band of Cologne, Germany considered by many one of the great big bands in Europe. In November, 2011 Michael accepted the position of Professor of Ensemble Conducting at the KUG Jazz Institute in Graz, Austria. Michael also served as the Associate Music Director of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop and an Associate Professor of Jazz Composition at Manhattan School of Music.
Michael produced the Grammy winning projects “Digital Duke” featuring the Duke Ellington Orchestra and “The GRP All-Star Big Band-All Blues.” He also produced the Grammy nominated “The GRP All-Star Big Band” and “The GRP All-Star Big Band Live” and received nominations in the arranging category for all three big band recordings. Michael was also nominated for his arrangement of “America” from “Dave Grusin Presents West Side Story.” Some artists Michael has arranged, composed and/or produced for are Maynard Ferguson, Maceo Parker, Take 6, Billy Cobham, Eddie Daniels, Bireli Lagrene, Chick Corea, Buddy Rich, Dick Oatts, Dizzy Gillespie, The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Dave Taylor, Patti Austin, The Metropole Jazz Orchestra, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, New York Voices, Ronnie Cuber, UMO Jazz Orchestra (Helsinki), Jazz Big Band Graz and the BBC Big Band.