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LISA MILES:  PITTSBURGH MUSICIAN, ARTIST, & WRITER
 
This page is dedicated to my dear friend, Lisa Miles, who has enriched so
many lives with her talent, creativity, and compassion! Updated April 3, 2005.
This Fantastic Struggle:  The Life and Art of Esther Phillips  |  Purchase This Book
About The Book  |  Reviews  |  Bio1  |  Q & A With The Author
Original Music:  Download Free MP3s  |  Bio2
Lisa Miles Violin:  Pittsburgh-based Violinist, Composer,
Performer, Author, and Cross-Disciplinary Creative Artist
now has her own web site! Visit:  
www.lisamilesviolin.com
Lisa Miles is a professional creative artist who writes original music, collaborating with film, theatre, visual, and movement artists. A violinist based in Pittsburgh, PA, Lisa has been awarded grants for her creative work. Visit www.lisamilesviolin.com to listen to music samples, purchase CDs online, watch a short video featuring music composed by Lisa, and read the rave reviews for Lisa's first book, "This Fantastic Struggle:  The Life and Art of Esther Phillips."
Visit LisaMilesViolin.com Lisa Miles Violin
Lisa Miles is a professional creative artist,
musician and writer--based in Pittsburgh, Pa.

www.lisamilesviolin.com

Lisa Miles:  Creative Writer, Researcher, & Historian

PITTSBURGH MUSICIAN & ARTIST HAS FIRST BOOK PUBLISHED!
Congratulations, Lisa! Your hard work, dedication, and creativity
have paid off with a wonderful new book for the world to enjoy!

NEW FROM CREATIVE ARTS BOOK COMPANY:

This Fantastic Struggle
The Life and Art of Esther Phillips
By:  Lisa A. Miles
Paperback Original ---- 460 pages. ---- $18 ---- ISBN 088739-467-1

Ingram, Baker & Taylor,
Small Press Distribution.
Copyright 2002

“The story of one who produced so much art, yet left so many questions...I couldn’t stop reading!
-
Brian Butko, Editor, Western Pennsylvania History magazine

Woven together with letters, interviews, scholarly
source material, institution documents and art work,
this biography and unique cultural essay presents an absorbing glimpse at what it means to be an artist.


To purchase the book,
This Fantastic Struggle
The Life and Art of Esther Phillips,
Visit:  www.lisamilesviolin.com/writing.html

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THE BOOK

Rarely if ever does the creative artist receive the recognition or the recompense she deserves or needs. Lisa A. Miles brings this truism to vibrant life in This Fantastic Struggle, the biography of Esther Phillips. Woven together with letters, interviews, scholarly source material, institution documents and art work, this unique cultural essay presents an absorbing glimpse at what it means to be an artist.

Born in Russia, raised in Pittsburgh by a family that denigrated her artistic identity, Esther left for Greenwich Village in the 1930's and never looked back. And an artist Esther was, though it cost her deeply. Despite early critical success, she was not able to make a living during the Depression and was institutionalized for over six years, likely for the results of starvation and stress. After her release, she returned to her art and to the Village, where her struggle continued. Eventually she lapsed into obscurity, but not before saying she had lived a wonderful life. This Fantastic Struggle is also the story of friendship - the kind that keeps alive both friends and art work that would otherwise have been lost to the world.

REVIEWS

"A remarkable book...both educational and provocative. [It] will arouse attention."
-Robert Henkes, author of American Women Painters of the '30s & '40s

"Miles is the most great-hearted biographer of a cantankerous artist since Irving Stone wrote of Van Gogh. May Swenson would have loved again meeting her friend Esther Phillips in these pages."
-R.R. Knudson, author of The Amazing Pen of May Swenson

"Interviews with aging bohemians and bountiful reproduced documents... Miles immerses the reader in the world of Esther Phillips with an intensity that matches her subject. I couldn't stop reading!"
-Brian Butko, editor of Western Pennsylvania History Magazine

BIOGRAPHY

LISA A. MILES is a professional creative artist who writes original music, collaborating with theatre, visual, and movement artists. A violinist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she has been awarded grants for her creative work. She has published prose and poetry in Unsilenced: The Spirit of Women (Commune-A-Key).

www.lisamilesviolin.com

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Questions & Answers With The Author

An Interview With Lisa Miles

How did your background lead you to write This Fantastic Struggle?

Ten years ago, I took a leap of faith and quit my 9-to-5 job as a Vocational Counselor at a mental health agency, where I developed work leads for clients with manic depression, personality disorders and schizophrenia. I decided it was time to try to make a go of it with my art. I had become fascinated at the time with the story of artist Esther Phillips, as I researched into her life on my down time, and realized I wanted to pursue the writing of a book. I embarked on not only that project but began to fully pursue my other creative interests--writing original works for cross-disciplinary performance work, creating a body of musical works to stand on their own for solo performance, teaching children improvisation, doing studio work both commercial and for local bands, accompanying dance, and producing and directing conceptual performance pieces. Though I actually did a variety of things post-college, and before my mental health agency job (GED teacher, career counselor, research asst. at Univ. of Pgh., library positions), none have been as unusual or interesting as the quest to make a living as a working creative artist. Or as fulfilling.

What are some of your professional & personal interests?

Collaborating with artists of various genres, developing a sense of creative exploration in children (so they see that they can find their own path creatively), touting the call to adults to awaken to “authentic sense of self” in this life, advocating for mental health concerns which I believe touch us all at some point in our lives, and proving that artists are workers and a viable part of this society. Personal interests include playing in underground bands, and fascination with old houses like my own sitting atop a hill since 1891 and providing a view of the bustling cityscape & three rivers, with lovely backyard terraced sanctuary.

Anything unusual in the research & writing of your book?

In the finding of content matter, nothing was ordinary! Everything an intriguing exploration, a real find---as I could talk much more about. . . One technical point to mention, though, is that the first computer draft of my manuscript was on an Apple II (this was already 1995!) My generous younger brother did my next two computer upgrades for me from company hand-me-downs---first an Apple Performa and now a Power Mac. Along the way, I actually (barely) learned Netscape Composer and I no longer have to go into the Carnegie Library to get on the internet.

To learn more about Lisa Miles, Visit:
www.lisamilesviolin.com

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Original Music:  By Lisa Miles, Erin Snyder, & Mike Marcinko

This CD features original music composed and performed by Lisa Miles,
with the contributions of co-composers and performers:
Erin Snyder and Mike Marcinko.

*Click on CD cover below for enlargement.

From the Lisa Miles CD titled "Original Music"
*Click on the song title to download mp3 file.

Parallel  1.14 MB

Recessional  2.64 MB

Folie a'Deux  9.23 MB

Back to Top

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Biography

Lisa Miles is a professional violinist based in Pittsburgh who creates original music, collaborating with theatre, film, visual, literary and movement artists. She accompanies dance at Dance Alloy and teaches improv to young instrumentalists.

She was awarded grants from The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, Meet The Composer, and the PA Arts & Humanities Initiative for a cross-disciplinary collaborative piece that she directed and produced. Entitled Presence, it incorporates media/visuals, movement and her music, and is about the search for authentic sense of self.

Contact Lisa Miles:
Phone:  412-231-5055, or

www.lisamilesviolin.com

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This Fantastic Struggle:  The Life and Art of Esther Phillips  |  Purchase This Book
About The Book  |  Reviews  |  Bio1  |  Author Appearances In Pittsburgh
Q & A With The Author  |  Original Music:  Download Free MP3s  |  Bio2

 

LISA MILES
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