“Fearless… New music informed by a punk ethos and a highly distinctive sonic palette. From the disorienting, hypnotic “Medieval Love Song” to the coy, coquettish “Folie a’deux,” Miles adeptly sets her own instrument as both subject and relief, and in the process creates moods and music of the highest order.” –Bob Lord, CEO, PARMA Recordings
CD Release– NALADA on Ravello Records, international new music label of PARMA Recordings
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. For over 25 years, Lisa has been uniquely blending her interest and expertise in the arts, humanities, writing, professional development and mental health. She has composed, performed and produced music and cross-disciplinary pieces (including collaboration with Jungian therapists); researched and written two books; advises, coaches and works therapeutically; and consults and lectures for nonprofits and business.
2015 has Lisa returning to her main interest– her original music. Her work 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, as well as soundtrack projects for film, theatre, dance and other cross-disciplinary projects. And as a writer, speaker and counselor, Lisa has been commissioned for the feature catalog essay for The Society for Contemporary Crafts‘ Fall ’15 exhibition “Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art.”
2013-14 brought opportunities for Lisa to more fully merge her creative and consulting work. She was involved with management consulting recruiting 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, biz and nonprofit coaching and mental health. Lisa coaches individuals on career and work/life transition, as well as counsels families of those affected by mental illness. She is a contributing MH clinician/counselor for Mercy Behavioral Health and as a self-employed consultant on leadership, employee engagement and more. In all, she “engages individuals around ‘sense of self.'”
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 since 1987, 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. Come spring 2013, Lisa has became affiliated as a Self-Development Coach with international wellness directory Liquic.com, and new management consulting small contracts in Pgh. As well, she became a contributing staff writer for PsychCentral.com.
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 also been blogging extensively since the summer of 2011 on her own (this) site and beginning prior to that, her writings have been posted by WORK Magazine, Daily Kos and others.
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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 began to do creative and historical research consulting on projects of interest in the Spring of 2010– for the Mexican War Streets Society extended neighborhood historical designation and for October Development. Lisa also presented June 2010 at the annual conference of The Historical Society (Boston-based) in Washington, D.C. on Stimulating Communities Via Their History.
She has been an adjunct lecturer for the University of Pittsburgh in a Library Science/ History class (2010 & ’11). She 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.”
Lisa has privately taught/ tutored cross-disciplinary, creative studies to children in elementary through high school (all subjects, including social studies and pre-algebra) as well as English as a Second Language. Lisa has been a member of the Independent Scholars Association and the Mid-Atlantic Book Publishers Association. Both 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. She’s 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. Her set has been characterized as both a fast-driven new music set and a haunting performance work. Since 1987, Lisa has been a member of, or guest with, numerous Pgh. bands, live and in the studio. This includes the Feral Family, and (as founding member) Black Light Discipline (early ’90s) and Jack on Fire (2005). Her compositions for violin and cello were self-released in the winter of 1997. Lisa also has done extensive commercial studio work.
Lisa has accreditation by the PA Dept. of Education to conduct community history Professional Development (Act 48 college credit) courses for teachers. She has conducted Artist Residencies and Creative Workshops for The Ellis School, and teacher Professional Development numerous times for the Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit, among numerous others since 1990.
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.
As a Teaching Artist, she has presented professional development workshops through Midwestern PA IV Intermediate Unit & Shady Lane Resources, among others, and 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. Lisa performed at First Night Pittsburgh for several years, and also there presented young instrumentalists that she was commissioned to work with on improvisation & composition.
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 has played professionally with numerous regional symphonies since 1985, including the Youngstown, Westmoreland, Butler County and McKeesport 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. Her 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 (’90). In ’94 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.