Mark Abel is a former rock musician and studio engineer who has bravely chosen to join an endangered species: He is a modern composer of serious music. "Serious" however does not mean "atonal" or "boring" or "hard to listen to" in his case. His most recent release, The Dream Gallery, is extremely beautiful, with haunting melodies and lyrics sung by world-class vocalists. Mark describes his compositions as "postmodern art songs." I have heard nothing quite like them.
Mark spent a large chunk of his own money on an orchestra instead of just settling for sampled instruments. Still, this labor of love doesn't cost a lot.
The Dream Gallery: Seven California Portraits — Amazon, iTunes, Delos