Michael Mantler is a composer and musician in new jazz and contemporary music. This official home page presents current news, biography, recordings, audio excerpts, scores, performances, collaborating artists, press, and contact information.


Born in Vienna in 1943, Michael Mantler went to the United States in 1962, and after early activities in the New York avant-garde as composer and trumpet player, he formed the Jazz Composer's Orchestra, and eventually WATT, a music production company. He toured and recorded extensively with Carla Bley as well as occasionally with his own live performance projects.

He has recorded many albums for WATT with varying instrumentations and soloists. Appearing infrequently live, he mostly concentrated on composing and recording. He has often worked with texts of contemporary authors (among them most prominently Samuel Beckett) featuring well-known singers from diverse backgrounds of jazz and popular music (including Jack Bruce and Robert Wyatt).

in 1991 he left the United States and returned to Europe. Continuing to cross the borders between jazz and contemporary classical music with his distinct instrumental and vocal compositions, he recorded new albums, now for ECM Records, including "sort-of" an opera, pieces for chamber ensembles, a large work for full symphony orchestra,
suites of songs with words by Giuseppe Ungaretti and Paul Auster, instrumental solo concertos, guitar/piano duets, and an update of his iconic Jazz Composer's Orchestra album.

His subsequent work, Comment c'est (How It Is) - a song cycle for voice and chamber orchestra, was released in November 2017. His latest album, CODA - Orchestra Suites, as well as a series of print editions (including scores of selected recorded work from a 50-year period), were released in July 2021 by ECM Records.

For more information see detailed biographies.

Audio excerpts (mp3) and related score examples (pdf) from most of Michael Mantler's recordings can be downloaded at the Listen section.