Michael J. Miles


Musician, composer, musical playwright, educator, actor – Michael J. Miles is a rare, engaging artist. “Sparkling, passionate, often brilliant playing,” says author/critic Ken Perlman about Miles' newest recording. Pete Seeger described Miles' banjo work as “the most beautiful I’ve heard…this is enough to make me want to learn the banjo all over again.” Miles has literally redefined the banjo’s possibilities, creating compositions for banjo, orchestra, piano trio, solo works, string quartet, and jazz ensemble. The Chicago Tribune said, “Miles has dared to take on the most profound and dramatic music ever written, and succeeded.” You must hear it to believe it. Miles is an educator who shares his zeal for music at public schools, universities, and some of the world’s finest stages – the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, and Ravinia.

Artistic Statement: 

I am a musician and composer. My goals in educational residencies are to explore and develop musical expression. I know how to make it fun for students and to incorporate American music history along the way - folk music, jazz, blues, and rock. I believe that personal expression matters the most, whether it be in the voice of a kindergarten student singing "Skip to My Lou," the sound of a 6th grader writing his or her first song, or the resonance of a high school violinist reaching for a richer tone. I enjoy these opportunities and use my musical expertise (guitar, banjo, vocals, double bass) to collaborate with the whole school to create enduring and achievable musical goals.

Residency Type: 
Individual Artist