Michael J. Miles is master musician and storyteller, specializing in the 5-string banjo and the guitar. He has shared the stage with greats like Pete Seeger and Bela Fleck. He has had standing ovations on four continents. Audiences, of all ages, appreciate how he takes the stage and turns it into his living room where everyone has a place and music is the feast of the day.
This is showcase video that is 20 mins long. The segments are listed below the video itself to sample different performances. This selections run from over the past 20 years. My specialty is the banjo, is this shows different ways that I use that instrument in concert.
This was a project of mine called "Send A Song To The President" where I surveyed 3000 3rd graders over a few years time and put their ideas into this song. The song is basically "Down by the Riverside" melody changed to "If I Were The President" lyrics and student ideas about what they would do if they were president. I have personal letters from Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton thanking me for sending this very recording and the other ideas from the 3000 students.
We're are in Beirut in this video. I wrote this bi-lingual song called "We Will Build A New World" and created a collaboration between a school in Lincolnwood IL and another school in Beirut Lebanon. The students met each other and performed for each through Skype exchanges. The song was sung in English and Arabic. The project was sponsored in part by the Global Voices Initiative, American University in Beirut, and Lincolnwood School District who received some funding from IAC.
The first video is primarily my work as a performer on stage. The second video shows how I have embraced the opportunity to collaborate with students and engage them in the world. The third video, in Beirut, steps into my international interests and belief that if planet earth has any hope it is on the shoulder of culture. When we appreciate and reach to understand one another, there is nothing that can't be done.
I'm 68 years old. I have affiliations and work relationships with a number of organizations.
MILES MUSIC LLC: President/Founder. Have run all aspects of free lance music business from 1998 to present. OLD TOWN SCHOOL OF FOLK MUSIC: Instructor, 1979 to present; Program Director 1984-1998; Artist in Residence 2008-2010; Musician/Educator of the Year, 2018.
VANDERCOOK COLLEGE OF MUSIC: Adjunct Professor, 1989 to present. Villanova University, Adjunct professor 1989 -2014. RAVINIA FESTIVAL: Teaching Artist 2000-2015. I have produced 7 CD's; written 14 music instruction books; written and produced 15 different staged shows. I have had standing ovations on four continents. I count my lucky stars that I have been able to make my living as a musician and creative artist.
I wrote a mission statement for my free lance business: I am in business to create music that honors its historic contexts, and forges new and inventive futures. To do this I:
1. Create innovative arrangements and compositions on the banjo.
2. Invest in my own skills as singer, guitarist, and banjo player.
3. Develop new product lines--books, CD’s, & shows.
I have been able to remain true to that, creating new works even through the pandemic.
Programs for Specific Audience(s) Expertise
When I was full up working at Ravinia and at the universities and in theatres, a typical year would have in front kindergarten students on up to grad school students. And on stages for people of all ages. With my decades long career, I'm honestly comfortable with groups of any age.
Traditional Folk/Ethnic Artform Statement
I'm Irish-American. I do have an Irish passport and cousins all over the place. The work that I do embraces music, literature, politics, history. My specialty is the banjo, but I link myself to that instrument not through the American south, like most, but through Africa and the banjo's origins--as a drum based string instrument of which there are many across the entire planet. My right hand technique is called "clawhammer" in America but it was/is used in Morocco on the hajuj and in Senegal on the halam and ngoni. In Africa, I've been told, that some of the music I heard played dated to the 11th century. Who's to say yes or no to that?
And I specialize in playing JS Bach on the banjo because he is one of the wonders of world in my view. So yes I play traditional folk---but I define that word far more broadly than most as American "folk" has blues all through it. Even Bach's music of the Baroque era has the "folk" sound of the Renaissance running in much of it.
Michael J. Miles
1311 W. Rosedale
Chicago, IL 60660
Michael J. Miles
Michael J. Miles
$400 - $2,000