Michael Hoenig is a synthesizer pioneer, composer and music producer based in Los Angeles, California.
Born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1952, he was raised and schooled in Berlin were he studied sociology, drama and journalism at Berlin’s Free University.
After experimenting with audio collage, multiple tape recorders, contact microphones and an assortment of electronic modulators in the late 1960s, he became one of the first performers in Europe to use an electronic music synthesizer on stage and in the studio. He performed with a variety of contemporary classical composers and became a member of the German avant-garde band “Agitation Free” in 1971. After several years of touring and numerous record projects he connected with Klaus Schulze in late 1974 to form “Timewind” and briefly joined the group “Tangerine Dream” in 1975.
He spent 1976 developing a solo concept, which ultimately led in 1977 to Michael becoming the first German artist to be signed directly to a major US record label. His Warner Brothers album “Departure from the Northern Wasteland” earned him worldwide critical acclaim.
He has performed his music in solo concerts and ensembles throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Korea and Japan.
Throughout the early and mid 1970s he co-organized the now legendary Berlin Metamusic Festivals, three-week events that contrasted contemporary classical avant-garde music with traditional, indigenous music from throughout the world – presenting Terry Riley’s solo performances followed by chanting Gyoto monks or the Steve Reich Ensemble juxtaposed with drummers from Ghana. The festivals foreshadowed a “world music” trend that finally came into it’s own in the early 1990s.
In 1980, Michael moved to Los Angeles to work as music director, writer, and co-composer on the film project Koyaanisqatsi, a movie without words based on Hopi indian prophecies (“life out of balance”). The film won numerous awards and is still performed live with the Phillip Glass Ensemble.
Since then Michael has divided his time between scoring original music for motion pictures and television (9 1/2 Weeks, The Blob, Max Headroom series ), solo recordings, and producing contemporary classical recordings for artists including Harold Budd, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Joan LaBarbera, Daniel Lentz and Morton Subotnick.
Since 1985, he has also been collaborating on and producing virtually all the music for Oscar winning composer Jack Nitzsche (Performance, One flew over Cuckoo’s Nest, Mermaids, Blue Sky).
Michael has worked on various projects with many artists including Miles Davis, Terry Riley, John Lee Hooker, Wayne Shorter, John Hassel, Don Preston, Mick Taylor, J. Peter Robinson, Patrick Gleeson, Paul Buckmaster, Shawn Phillips and Buffy Saint Marie.
More recent projects include scoring the NBC series Dark Skies, the title music of which earned him an Emmy nomination, the music for Anne Rice’s Rag and Bone, the TV series Strange World and The District as well as scoring the Motion Pictures After Alice with Kiefer Sutherland and The Contaminated Man with William Hurt and Peter Weller.
He is currently working on several CD projects and is composing for an upcoming concert tour.