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All Music Guide:
Michael Mantler has had considerable impact on the jazz scene as a writer, player, label owner, and activist. He studied musicology and trumpet at the Academy of Music and Vienna University in the early '60s, then moved to America and enrolled at Berklee. He moved to New York in 1964, worked with pianist Cecil Taylor, then became part of the Jazz Composers Guild with Taylor, trombonist Roswell Rudd, saxophonist Archie Shepp, and others. The group was an outgrowth of efforts by musicians to improve their lot and also remedy abuses in royalty payments, booking conditions, and their general environment.
Later Mantler formed a large orchestra with pianist/composer Carla Bley, whom he later married. After the Guild's demise, Mantler toured Europe with Bley and saxophonist Steve Lacy in the mid-'60s, then helped form the Jazz Composer's Orchestra Association (JCOA), a nonprofit foundation that would perform, record, and commission new works for jazz orchestra. Mantler played on Bley's A Genuine Tong Funeral with Gary Burton and orchestra in 1967, then issued a two-record set of his music for the JCOA in 1968, which featured many major players like Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry, and Rudd. It won plaudits and praises from the international and national jazz press.
Mantler later conducted at the Electric Circus in New York and appeared on bassist Charlie Haden's 1969 Liberation Music Orchestra. He coordinated the recording of Bley's massive Escalator Over the Hill in 1970-1971, a three-record opus with more contributions from instrumental superstars. Mantler formed the New Music Distribution Service (NMDS) in 1972 as a separate part of the JCOA to oversee distribution for his and other JCOA artists' records. He and Bley co-formed Watt Works in 1973, a label designed for producing their own records.
Mantler built a recording studio near Woodstock in 1975, and he received grants for composition from the Creative Artists Program Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ford Foundation's recording-publishing program. Unfortunately, the JCOA and NMDS encountered financial problems and eventually went bankrupt, but Mantler has remained active in subsequent years, touring with Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, performing and recording with the Carla Bley Band, and (into the 21st century) issuing numerous albums of his music on the ECM label.
Michael Mantler (born August 10, 1943) is a composer and trumpeter in new jazz and contemporary music.
Career: United States 
Mantler was born in Vienna, Austria. He went to the United States in 1962 to study music, and after early activities within the New York avant garde community, including work with Cecil Taylor and the Jazz Composer's Guild, he was a founder of the Jazz Composers' Orchestra Association aka JCOA, a non-profit organisation to commission, perform, and record new compositions for jazz orchestra.
The problems of independently distributing the orchestra's record label led him to form the New Music Distribution Service (as a division of JCOA) in 1972, an organisation which was to serve many independent labels for almost twenty years.
He then had a personal and professional relationship with Carla Bley, to whom he was married from 1967–1992, and with whom he had a daughter, Karen Mantler, now also a musician in her own right. Eventually Bley and he established their own company, WATT — a record label, recording studio, and publisher. He toured and recorded extensively with the Carla Bley Band as well as occasionally with his own live performance projects.
Mantler recorded many solo albums with varying instrumentation and personnel, emphasizing his work as a composer rather than as a band leader. Appearing infrequently live, he mostly concentrated on composing and recording. Among others, he recorded an album with the strings of the London Symphony Orchestra plus soloists (Something There), and several albums of songs using the words of writers as diverse as Samuel Beckett (No Answer), Harold Pinter (Silence), and Edward Gorey (The Hapless Child).
Various commissions from and performances with European orchestras followed, including work at Swedish Radio, North and West German Radio, the Lille Opera, and Danish Radio. His 1987 recording, Many Have No Speech, an album of songs in English, German, and French, was based on the poetry of Samuel Beckett, Ernst Meister, and Philippe Soupault. It was written for chamber orchestra, trumpet and guitar soloists, and additionally, for the singing voices of Rock musicians Jack Bruce, Marianne Faithfull, as well as Robert Wyatt.
Career: Europe 
In 1991 he left the United States and moved to Europe, dividing his time between Copenhagen, Denmark and the South of France.
A new orchestral piece was commissioned by the Austrian Donau Festival, and was premièred near Vienna in June 1991 by the Nö.Tonkünstlerorchester, conducted by Michael Gibbs, with Andy Sheppard as soloist. New compositions were also commissioned by the Danish Radio Big Band and the North German Radio Big Band in Hamburg.
During 1992 Mantler recorded a new album, titled Folly Seeing All This, released by ECM Records in March 1993, which features The Balanescu String Quartet plus other instrumentalists. The album includes new instrumental compositions, and one song: music set to Samuel Beckett's last work, written shortly before his death in 1989, the poem "What Is the Word", featuring the voice of Jack Bruce.
In 1993 he formed the Chamber Music and Songs ensemble, featuring his trumpet plus Mona Larsen (voice), Bjarne Roupé (guitar), Kim Kristensen (keyboards), and a string quartet consisting of Marianne Sørensen (violin), Mette Winther (viola), Gunnar Lychou (viola), and Helle Sørensen (cello). Its premiere took place at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse in September, followed by a studio production at Denmark Radio.
Cerco un Paese Innocente, a "Suite of Songs and Interludes for Voice, Untypical Big Band, and Chamber Ensemble", with words by the Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti, had its premiere in concert at Denmark Radio in January 1994. Featured were the voice of Mona Larsen, Mantler's ensemble, and the Danish Radio Big Band, conducted by Ole Kock Hansen. The work was subsequently recorded in the studio and released by ECM Records in 1995.
The School of Understanding ("sort-of-an-opera") had its première in August 1996 at Arken, the new Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen. Participants included singers Jack Bruce, Mona Larsen, Susi Hyldgaard, John Greaves, Don Preston, Karen Mantler, Per Jørgensen, and Robert Wyatt. The recording was released as a double-CD by ECM Records in November 1997, followed by a new live production at the Hebbel Theater in Berlin.
His One Symphony, commissioned by the broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk, was premiered in November 1998 by the Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, conducted by Peter Rundel. The recording of the work was released in February 2000, together with previously recorded material featuring Mona Larsen and the Chamber Music and Songs ensemble interpreting songs set to texts by Ernst Meister.
Hide and Seek, an album of songs with words by Paul Auster (from his play by the same name) for chamber orchestra and the voices of Robert Wyatt and Susi Hyldgaard, was released in March 2001. Theatrical productions of the work, conceived by Rolf Heim (who has previously worked with Mantler on the School of Understanding performances), were produced in the Spring of 2002 in Copenhagen (Kanonhallen, February) and Berlin (Hebbel Theater, March).
His Concerto for Marimba and Vibraphone (originally commissioned by Portuguese percussionist Pedro Carneiro in 2001), was premiered at the Hessischer Rundfunk in March 2005 with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, conducted by Pascal Rophé.
During September 2006 Porgy & Bess in Vienna presented a series of retrospective portrait concerts with his "Chamber Music and Songs" ensemble
In recognition of his life's work he received several Austrian awards: the State Prize for Improvised Music, the Prandtauer Prize of the City of St.Pölten (where he spent his early youth), and the Music Prize of the City of Vienna.
The anthology Review (recordings 1968 - 2000), released by ECM in 2006, traced his musical path during more than 30 years of recordings for JCOA, WATT and ECM.
He appeared at the JazzFest Berlin in November 2007 with his Concertos project, featuring the Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin under the direction of Roland Kluttig. A studio recording of the concertos with soloists Bjarne Roupé (guitar), Bob Rockwell (tenor saxophone), Roswell Rudd (trombone), Pedro Carneiro (marimba and vibraphone), Majella Stockhausen (piano), Nick Mason (percussion), and Mantler on trumpet, was released by ECM during November 2008.
His latest CD For Two, a series of duets for guitar (Bjarne Roupé) and piano (Per Salo), was released by ECM during June 2011.