Michael Hornstein was born of a German father and an Italian mother in 1962. He started playing the piano at the age of 10 and later saxophone at the age of 14. Michael Hornstein began as a self-taught musician under the influence of listening to Charlie Parker. He studied music at the University for music and interpretative arts in Graz from 1979 to 1982. In 1983 he received a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music.
He has collaborated with musicians like Sunny Murray, Al Porcino, Albert Mangelsdorff, Udo Lindenberg, Hector Martignon, Blank & Jones, Bob Dorough, Billy Hart, Fred Braceful, Gary Peacock, Sandra Kaye, Joe Bonner, Joe Madrid among many others. In his recorded works one finds flavours of jazz, drum and bass, trip hop, electronic music as well as a series of commissions for silent movies, shortcuts and artvideos.