Artist Statement

Lisa A. Miles 1994


The compositional works of Lisa Miles usually involve a layering of sound–track upon track of violin lines, both acoustic and electric, sometimes primitive mandolin, and even occasional children’s group improvisations. This type of work has interested her for some time, as she began exploring the possibilities for solo work in 1991 by recording her own accompaniment to violin lines she had created and recorded. Short of continual double-stopping (chord work) on the violin, track-on-track work allows for a depth of sound beyond simple melodic or rhythmic lines. Lisa most likes the textural quality that emanates from weaving together two or more string lines, with primitive-like components, but overall intricacy, and the freedom of self-reliance musically this way of work offers.

Though she thrives on the creative solitude and discipline involved in realizing solo pieces, the majority of work that Lisa Miles does as a performer and composer is amongst other artists, as even her solo compositions are oft created as part of a larger project involving a dancer, theatre troupe or the like. Cross-disciplinary work most intrigues her–that vibrant, engaging collaboration between artists of various genres. She enjoys being asked to further bring to life the essence of another’s work through her music.

Starting with her involvement in The Well, a creative collective begun in Pittsburgh in 1991 by friend Adrienne Wehr, Lisa saw the dynamics possible in creative performance involving multi-layers–music, movement, drama, film, visual art, and even the ritual inherent in creative processing.

The Well allowed her to explore for the first time even her own ability to move, dramatize, and play with the visual. Being that Lisa is a composer of the written word, as well, she began at this time to mix text amid music.

As an artist educator, Lisa Miles feels that each of us has a unique creative voice. She has found it especially approachable in children, whom she nurtures to find improvisational “vocalizations” on their instruments, and she encourages such utterings in response to visual art, dance, video, drama, and the written word, as she exposes them to these other creative forms.

Lisa is committed to the concept of the “self-designed life”–that we should always search for who we are truly, stripping away the acquired masks that keep us from our potential, and going after a life incorporating what most speaks to us in this world. For her, creative work has urged on that transformation, contemplation of the self and of creative community. Like the compositions of her music, and even her written words, Lisa sees the self as multi-faceted, very intricate–with only the woven integration of the various parts being the essence of a whole being.