John Fordham - The Guardian
John K Miles has composed numerous scores for film and television (BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4, Channel 5, ARTE, WDR, & various independent film production companies), and written prolifically for theatre, jazz groups, world music ensembles, and the classical concert hall.
Concert commissions include On Golden Cap, written for the opening of the Olympic Sailing in 2012 for 180 voices, vibraphone, strings and percussion, The Choice written to open The 2014 Bath International Music Festival for Choir and Band, and Carnival Suite & Carnival Variations written in 2015 for The City of London Sinfonia, 19 Luton schools, and a range of flagship ensembles from Luton Music Hub. Carnival Suite was recorded for Charanga and published by Music Sales in 2015. In 2017 John scored The Wish a brand new young person's guide to the orchestra. In 2019 the piece was nominated for 'Outstanding Classical Music Education Initiative' in the prestigious Rhinegold awards. To date the piece has been performed to around 5000 children and counting!
Recent commissions include River and Ash - Play a Mighty Groove for Jazz South, subsequently recommissioned for theatrical production in 2021 at The Little Angel Theatre, and Share the Dream, a four year collaboration with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and writer/presenter Claire Henry as part of the cultural Commonwealth Games celebrations in Birmingham UK 2022.
John K Miles' music could be described as where 'jazz, world, popular and aural traditions meet classical development' and aims to make immediate and deep connections through an eclectic range of influences and musical traditions that come together in a unique, personal style and voice. He believes in the power of music to transform lives and communities, to bring people together, as well as the benefits for personal well-being.
John has led education projects for London Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Sinfonia Viva, English National Opera, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, The Roundhouse, B Sharp, New Dimensions, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, Southbank Sinfonia, Spitalfields Festival, Jazzlines THSH, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Anvil Arts, La Folia, Create, Bath Festivals, and City of London Sinfonia.
John was a visiting professor on the Leadership Masters course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama 2008-18, a music theory consultant for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music 2010-11, a classroom music teacher 2000-2, and a freelance peripatetic instrumental tutor 1993-2003. He is currently musical director of YMM, a large Saturday music school (350+ students), in North London.
Before John studied as a composer at Trinity Laban and the National Film and Television School, he studied classical flute with Pat Lynden and Judith Hall and gained a place at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a post graduate aged 19. He then studied jazz saxophone with Jean Toussaint and Don Rendell. As an instrumentalist he’s worked and recorded with a range of artists including reggae star Maxi Priest, UK jazz musicians Tim Garland, Gerard Presencer & Alan Skidmore, classical luminary Howard Moody, master Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale, soul legend Geno Washington and American trumpet virtuoso Terell Stafford, as part of a collaboration between Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning & Jazz at Lincoln Centre in New York. He's released two instrumental albums under his own name, The Enchanter and Trane Ride.
In 2020 John was awarded a 2020/21 Jazz South Radar Commission to write the words and music for an accessible reimagining of the Orpheus in the Underworld myth for 8-12 year olds. The resulting work, River and Ash - Play a Mighty Groove is a story about friendship and the power of music. The audio version is available here and there is a 2 Degrees West podcast available about the evolution of the project here. River and Ash was subsequently been recommissioned by the Little Angel Theatre for theatrical production, released in October 2021.
John recently completed Morag's Children a cross world fantasy novel for young adults. It’s 'An epic adventure, set across three divergent parallel worlds, linked by the hidden subconscious realm of ‘The Unseen.’ Technology is at odds with the natural world, as a deposed witch queen and her gifted orphan daughters strive against demonic forces, on their perilous journey towards being reunited and reclaiming their rightful place in the universe.’
©John K Miles 2022