Lisa A. Miles is a creative artist and self development counselor based in Pittsburgh, Pa. She received a B.A. in English from Youngstown State University, with an Applied Music minor and teaching certifications in two states. Since even before college, Lisa has been uniquely blending her interest and expertise in the arts and humanities, music and writing. As a classical and electric violinist she has composed, performed and produced solo and collaborative music and cross-disciplinary pieces (including work with everyone from choreographers to Jungian therapists to post-punk bands). She has two published books, and she counsels in mental health.
Lisa returned to her main interest in 2015– her original music. Her full discography is now easily accessible for streaming via Soundcloud (and purchase at Bandcamp.com). Having accomplished a lot as a solo performer, including CD Nalada release in 2011, she is returning to her love of dark electric violin tracks– creating new material and pursuing collaborative work with international musicians and bands from Italy and France , as well as soundtrack projects for film, theatre, dance and other cross-disciplinary projects. She began more intensive collaborative work with the band Come With Reverse from Thessaloniki, Greece and film/ soundtrack projects with Reverse composer/ keyboardist Alex Passalides. Lisa played live with Reverse in Thessaloniki in Dec ’15, and put out exclusive single and more with them in the new year. Though now interested mainly in collaborative work, especially performance, Lisa continues to write unique new solo material on electric violin and mandolin. Also as a writer, Lisa was commissioned in 2015 for the feature catalog essay for The Society for Contemporary Crafts‘ Fall exhibition “Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art.”
Lisa began playing professionally, classically, while still in high school. She continues to be a long-contracted player with numerous regional symphonies, including the Youngstown, Westmoreland and Butler Symphonies, as well as having played major avant-garde works with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall and Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
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2013-14 brought opportunities for Lisa to more fully merge her creative and consulting work. She was involved with consulting, employee engagement and training and was a contributing writer for PsychCentral.com, including in-depth features. She began to post and publish more regularly from her own imprint at that point in professional development, nonprofit coaching and mental health,”engaging individuals around ‘sense of self.'” Lisa consults on career and work/life transition, as well as counsels families of those affected by mental illness. She is also an MH clinician/counselor for Mercy Behavioral Health.
Lisa was honored to be a 2014 featured Speaker/Program Leader for the the University of Pgh’s Katz School of Business Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, as well as to present for the 3rd time in 9 years at NAMI-PA’s state conference in Harrisburg, Fall 2013.
As a violinist and conceptual artist, Lisa has been writing original music, often in collaboration with film, theatre, visual and movement artists. October 2011 brought her international CD release, NALADA on Ravello Records, new music label of PARMA Recording. Support for this came in part by the Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music. Lisa performed at select locations to celebrate this release, including at the acclaimed Cornelia Street Cafe in NYC’s Greenwich Village. She also played at storied, long-standing bastion for independent bands, Cedars Lounge in Youngstown, OH and at The Venue of Emerging Arts in Johnstown, PA.
All of Lisa’s work has been featured on KDKA-TV‘s “Pgh. Today Live,” the PA Cable Channel, and she has had extensive interviews on various East Coast radio shows. Lisa spoke April 2012 for the English Dept. at her Alma Mater, Youngstown State University, who sponsored an evening performance as well. She gave the Keynote Address at the Pa. Assn. of Rehab. Facilities’Annual Conference 2009 in State College, PA on Creativity, Personal Power and the ‘Nature of Help’ for those physically and mentally disabled. She has twice facilitated, in clinical application, Creative Therapy/Professional Development workshops at the Defense & Veterans Brain Injury Center in Johnstown, PA., as well as presented twice for the Natl. Alliance. for Mental Illness in Harrisburg.
Following up her two books, Lisa has been thinking about writing “Creative Folly: The Illusory Support of Artists by American Arts Organizations & Funders” (Abstract of which has been already posted), but has been delayed due to the track back to her original music taking precedence in 2015 . The latter work is one Lisa has been contemplating ever since “This Fantastic Struggle,” made more relevant with recent professional developments in her work life and the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and one she feels of great import. She has written on and published extensively online, with postings by WORK Magazine, the David & Goliath project and others.
Lisa had an extensive two-year consulting contract with Talent Curve Solutions (out of Pittsboro, NC), coaching CWA (Communications Workers of America) Union members on all areas of Personal & Professional Development (something she has done professionally since the late ’80s with work at Chatham College). She conducted on-site and online counseling, workshops and presentations, as well as did assessments related to personality and career transition interests.
Lisa presented June 2010 at the annual conference of The Historical Society (Boston-based) in Washington, D.C. on “Stimulating Communities Via Their History,” based on her second book. She has been an ongoing adjunct lecturer for the University of Pittsburgh in a Library Science/ History class. Lisa was an invited speaker Spring of 2010 at the Pennsylvania Hospital/University of Pennsylvania’s History of Women’s Health Conference in Philadelphia, and was also for the second time an invited panelist for Seton Hill University’s Women in Art panel Fall 2009.
As an independent scholar, Lisa published her second book in 2007– “Resurrecting Allegheny City: The Land, Structures & People of Pittsburgh’s North Side.” It was sponsored by a substantial grant from the PA Historical & Museum Commission and the Buhl Foundation. Selling out after less than four weeks, and consistently selling thereafter, it is now a regional Best-Seller in Third Printing. Lisa continued to support this book through ’09 with discussions and educational programming at state historical societies and various community organizations. Included were a series of five in Butler County for which she received a PA Humanities Council grant, and a series of workshops funded by the Buhl Foundation for at-risk youth, looking at the intersections of history and current-day civic engagement. The latter had a major community component– a culminating Showcase at renowned telescope maker John Brashear’s old house and factory in Lisa’s neighborhood. Lisa has independently pushed for the historic designation and usage of the Brashear structures; success with that has come, October 2012.
Lisa’s 460-page biography/cultural essay “This Fantastic Struggle: The Life and Art of Esther Phillips” was first published at the end of 2002. She received grants for a portion of this work from the Pittsburgh Foundation and PA Council on the Arts. The book’s success in the Western Pennsylvania region was supported through extensive speaking engagements at artist and historical organizations, and a variety of other venues. In 2009, she has begun re-releasing the work nationally and is being featured via radio interviews on the East Coast in the Spring & Summer, as well as having an offshoot article published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In ’97, Lisa also had prose and poetry published in an anthology– “Unsilenced: The Spirit of Women.”
Both of Lisa’s books were spotlighted Dec. 2008 in an hour-long TV interview on the PA Cable Channel’s “PA Books” program, and she was awarded April ’09 the William Rimmel Award, from the Allegheny City Society, for her Northside community contributions. In 2008-’10, Lisa continued to play at a variety of venues ranging from the downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District to art openings to accompanying yoga workshops with original music on violin and mandolin.
Lisa has been awarded grants for music from Meet The Composer, The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and one of the first PA Arts & Humanities Initiative grants for performances of a cross-disciplinary collaborative piece that she directed and produced. Entitled Presence, it incorporates glass art, slide projection, movement, her music, and collaboration with the Pittsburgh Jung Society and Duquesne University psychology department, and is about the search for authentic sense of self.
Major solo performance work of Lisa’s (composed for acoustic and electric violin and mandolin) premiered in ’98. Her music, at times driving, chordal, overdriven, dissonant, rhythmic and spacious, is oft intricately woven with multi-recorded tracks, including original text, and site-specific improvisation and movement in performance. She had been a member of, or guest with, numerous Pgh. bands, live and in the studio, and has done extensive commercial studio work.
Lisa has conducted Artist Residencies and Creative Workshops for The Ellis School, Pgh Public Schools, Professional Development workshops for teachers for the Beaver Valley and Allegheny Intermediate Units, among many others over the years. As a Teaching Artist, Lisa was involved with many Ready for Life/Heinz Endowments Early Literacy grants. She was a resident artist at Carnegie Mellon University’s Reggio Emilia early childhood program, and has taught extensively independently, and through various art centers–holding music creativity workshops that incorporate a cross-disciplinary arts approach. She performed at First Night Pittsburgh for several years, and also there presented young instrumentalists that she was commissioned to work with on improvisation & composition.
Often engaged as a speaker on her books, and creativity in general, she delivered the Keynote at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Faculty Professional Development Spring ’08, discussing the ‘Creative Process & Education.’ As well, she performed original music and gave a major presentation on Creativity & Mental Illness at NAMI’s state mental health conference in Harrisburg, PA, 2003 and Women & Art at Youngstown (OH) State University’s Women Center that same year.
In 2005, Lisa organized and coordinated artists for a Northside Artist Community Day at The Hazlett Theatre and had a re-commission for Folie a Deux, with stand-up bass, for live performance in early 2006 (Choreographer: Doug Bentz; Originally Commissioned by Point Park College ’99). In 2003-4, she curated a posthumous show of Pittsburgh painter Ray Geiger’s work, and scored a short film, Metamorphosis. As well, she began work on another short film composition, a music performance set for a visual/media installation, and mentored a young improvisation student to compose for film. In 1991, Lisa organized a show of work by artists with mental illness, coordinating with area art therapists.
In 2001, Lisa scored “Arthur’s Family,” a short Pittsburgh independent film; also that year she premiered new material and performed live for a sculptural-movement work by Cheryl Cappezzuti & Laurie Tarter, Beneath The Light. Lisa accompanied at Pittsburgh’s Dance Alloy for over seven years, and she has played improvisational workshops with choreographers Mark Taylor and (through the Pittsburgh Dance Council) Jose Bustamante, David Parsons and HT Chen.
With her solo performance work, Lisa played in ’99 at the Andy Warhol Museum, the Mattress Factory, and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival (’99). Lisa’s music caught the attention of Anne LeBaron, internationally-recognized avant-garde harpist/composer, and the two collaborated twice in ’99–at the Millvale Industrial Theatre and as part of the University of Pittsburgh‘s Inside the Edge program. Lisa’s performance within the Pittsburgh independent art and music scene early on had mutual collaboration with cellist Erin Snyder, including music for national performance artist Animal X at Chatham College’s Eddy Theatre. In the mid-90s Miles & Snyder jointly scored a stage adaptation (Laurel Highlands Regional Theatre) of the silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, garnering excellent reviews.
Now I See Myself/The Statue of Mirrors was a ’97 collaboration between Lisa and dancer Laura Brungard. Lisa composed the music for and was a physical presence in this performance piece, commissioned by the Pittsburgh Dance Council’s Choreographer’s Continuum and premiered at the Byham Theatre. The work was transformed with video and sculpture by Brett Day and performed again at Carnegie Mellon University’s Hewlett Gallery. A ’95 collaboration with Brungard had Lisa writing music for the performance film Bowl Dance, which has been spotlighted at a Boston video festival, an Argentine film festival and a Toronto Moving Pictures Festival.
All music, text, graphics, images and video on this web site are the copyright-protected property of Lisa A. Miles and/or the creative collaborators, as noted throughout web site and on image credits page. All rights reserved, all material. Copyrighted material can not be duplicated without consent.