Existential Banjo


Episode 1
Little Pink America
with Corky Siegel &
Sons of the Never Wrong

Episode 2
People Get Ready
with Sue Demel, vocals

Episode 3
MTA (Poor Ol' Charlie)
with Tony Trischka

Episode 4
Suite for Americas:  Dorian
with Nora Barton, cello

Episode 5
Midnight Rider
with Darol Anger. violin

Episode 6
Vincent Black Lightning
@ Chicago City Winery

Episode 7
Hasna ya Layla
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni

Episode 8
Opus 821
with Geraldo de Oliveira

Episode 9
Gaudete & Sleepers Awake
with David Jennings, vibes

Episode 10
Corrina, Corrina
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni 

Episode 11
with Erkan Ogur
(Concert in Istanbul)

Episode 12
Last Thing On My Mind
with Tom Paxton, songwriter

New Releases

A-sides CD

Fingerstyle guitar with Darol Anger on violin 


Two New Hal Leonard books



To Play on the Banjo 
(co-written with Greg Cahill)


About Michael J. Miles



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 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's performance credits include the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Ravinia Festival, Harris Theatre in Chicago, American University in Beirut, Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Ireland, MIAM Graduate Conservatory of Music in Istanbul,  and the Royal Opera Theatre in Marrakesh.






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.   


Chicago Trilogy

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 below. 


Miles performs his composition, "Chicago Trilogy."

Melodious Pich

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.  

Miles performs his composition "Melodious Pich."

Opus 822

Michael has explored the use the 19th century fretless banjo This work features percussion, alto flute, mandolin.   

“Thanks for including Take Five.”
     - Dave Brubeck

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.  Below is the Guaracha movement. 

"Guaracha" from Suite for the Americas.

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.  

Performance of New Century Suite with Perkiomen Valley High School Orchestra, PA

Firefly Sonata

Chromaticism and motif development are at the heart of this work.   Michael created a new banjo tuning for this work, debuted by the de Pasquale String Quartet. 


Honoring JS Bach

No banjo player has recorded as much material by JS Bach before.  Michael feels that  his work sits on Bach's shoulders.   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.