When Pete Seeger first heard Michael Miles, he sent a letter to Michael saying that "in all my 70 years this is among the most beautiful recordings I’ve ever heard...it is enough to make me want to learn the banjo all over again.”
Michael Miles is one of America’s most inventive clawhammer banjo players. Add guitar, vocals, jazz instruments, orchestras and complex historically-themed theatrical presentations to the mix and, two decades later, Michael has a critically acclaimed catalog of original compositions, stage performances, music CD’s and music instruction books.
Michael Miles performance credits include the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Ravinia Festival, Harris Theatre in Chicago, American University in Beirut, and the Royal Opera Theatre in Marrakesh.
From 1984-1998, Michael served as the Program Director at the Old Town School of Folk Music bringing the school to international acclaim. Under his guidance the student population grew from 200 students to over 4000. From 2005-2007, Michael was honored as the school's first ever Artist-In-Residence. He remains as active member of the faculty teaching clawhammer banjo and fingerstyle guitar.
With an MA in Music Performance and Pedagogy, Michael is also a music educator whose work ranges from introducing kindergarten students to their earliest musical experiences to leading postgraduate study for professional musicians and music teachers.
Current projects include new fingerstyle guitar arrangements of the Great American Songbook and the works of Stevie Wonder; new compositions for the banjo and expanded ensemble; and new stage productions.
Orchestra & Choral "Miles brought our orchestra to new level of artistic performance. Students were amazed and dazzled and fully engaged." - Ron DeGrandis, Orchestra Director
I. ORCHESTRAS Miles has performed with both professional and school orchestras. He brings a wide range of music and invigorates the orchestral setting with his passion and musicianship. Students are delighted to participate in concerts with Miles.
REPERTOIRE Miles specialized in the works of JS Bach for a period of time, where he recorded and performed the 1st and 3rd Cello Suites. This had never been done before on the banjo by anyone. In his view (and in the view of many) one is never done with Bach. But learning Bach awakened a composer in Miles and prompted him to create a series of works that he now performs regularly with banjo & string settings: Suite for the Americas, New Century Suite, Yellowbird Concerto, Firefly Sonata and others. Additional repertoire includes arrangements of Bach’s 3rd Cello Suite, traditional American and Irish music, folk music, and rock & roll.
INSTRUMENTATION • Banjo with string quartet or orchestra • Guitar & vocals with orchestra
SCORES AVAILABLE Interested? By request, scores are available in Finale format for your review.
II. CHORAL ARRANGEMENTS: “A World That Says Yes” This is a powerful and uplifting song that has been performed by school chorus and church choir around the country. It is written in 3 part harmony for all voices. Miles works with choral groups to bring this piece to life.
“A world that says yes, There’s more love than fear Yes, the smiles re-appear A world that says yes, yes yes A world that says no matter who you are, or where you are or what you are In this world, everyone’s the same.”
“You were terrific. You are always welcome in our orchestra and school.” - Leslie, Grade 8, Easton PA
Performance of New Century Suite with Perkiomen Valley High School Orchestra, PA
Rehearsal of Niles West HS chorus along with local Junior High Schools rehearsing, "A World That Says Yes."