Michael Miles’ compositions include solo pieces of works for banjo featuring different combinations of accompaniment: percussion, bass, vibes, horns, voices, string quartet, chamber orchestra and full orchestra. All of these works, with the exception of his newest "Cambria" are on Michael's CD's. Scores are available for interested collaborators, and new works are underway.
Suite for the Americas
A five movement suite that can be performed solo, with bass accompaniment or string quartet. This is modeled after the dance movements of JS Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello.
New Century Suite
This three movement suite with full orchestral accompaniment was debuted in front of 5000 people with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. It was later set for chamber orchestra and then performed with the de Pasquale String Quartet from the Philadelphia Orchestra.
A three movement composition depicting shades of the Chicago sunset sky (blue, purple, & black). This work was originally recorded with banjoist Bela Fleck playing a harmony line and bassist Bob Lizik (Brian Wilson Ensemble) playing 5-string electric bass. This selection is plays when this website opens, and is performed as a solo piece in the video to the right.
There are three movement to this composition which was debuted with the Niles North High School Orchestra, near Chicago. Miles prides himself on sharing his work with young players. Subsequent to its debut with the orchestra, the Yellowbird has been set for string quartet and recorded with the world renowned Chamber Blues String Quartet. It is on Miles’ most recent CD, col•lage.
This work was the opening and closing overture to Michael’s show, “When Africa Met Ireland In American Song.” It was also a piece with prominent role for percussion that Miles played all across Morocco on his recent tours there.
Michael has explored the use the 19th century fretless banjo bringing it hand-in-hand with 20th century blues and his own Bach-and-folk- informed approach to composition. This work features percussion, alto flute, mandolin.
Chromaticism along with motif development are at the heart of this work. Michael created a new tuning for the banjo to develop this three movement selection. It was debuted for string quartet accompaniment by the de Pasquale String Quartet.
While in Mexico, Michael heard a bird that sang the first three notes of the song “On a Clear Day.” That bird is known as the “pich,” pronounced “peach.” This selection was recorded with flugelhorn, vibes, bass and drumset.
This is Miles newest work, composed in Cambria, California after a month in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It reaches for new sound--percussive, tuneful, uncomplicated.
Honoring JS Bach
No banjo player has ever recorded as much material by JS Bach before. Michael feels that playing Bach entirely informs his compositions, his phrasing, and his musicianship. Recorded works include: 1st and 3rd Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, Gavotte en Rondeau,Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring; and this version of Sleepers Awake.
“Thanks for including Take Five.”
|Miles performs his composition "Guaracha," from the Suite for the Americas.
Miles performs his composition "Melodious Pich."
Miles performs his composition, "Chicago Trilogy."