Michael NixGreenfield, MA
Michael Nix performs on classical guitar, Banjar, banjo, and mandolin, throughout the United States and Asia; has recorded for the PBS series, “American Experience,” several independent documentaries, numerous CD projects; and his compositions are performed internationally. His music has been heard on “Weekend Edition,” and other NPR programs. A banjo innovator, Nix designed the Banjar; a modern seven nylon string banjo combining elements of the five-string banjo and classical guitar; bringing the classic finger-style banjo of the late 1800’s into the twenty first century. His instrumentals, songs, and compositions draw from classic finger style banjo and guitar, infused with folk, jazz and world music traditions. In 2017 Nix performed his compositions for New Classic Banjo at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Nix participated in Seegerfest 2014, and other concerts commemorating the life of Pete Seeger. In 2012 Nix performed American music at the Surin International Folkore Festival in Thailand with the Sorvino Dance Project. Nix toured as a member of the Monadnock Classical Guitar Duo, and as a soloist he was on the New Hampshire Touring Program for four years from 1979-1983. Throughout the 1980’s he was a featured performer for the Connecticut Classical Guitar Society’s Andres Segovia outreach program, “The Guitar About Town.” In 1988, he performed at the Bushnell Hall in Hartford CT, commemorating a 1931 Andres Segovia performance with Madam Emilita Segovia as the honored guest. Nix was member of The Moser/Nix Duo, which formed in 1995, performing music and recording for mandolin and guitar. He founded The NixWorks Ensemble in 1999, a flexible chamber ensemble, to explore multiple creative influences and genre. Nix formed The Pioneer Consort in 2005, with violinist Chris Devine, and cellist Greg Snedeker to play World Chamber Music. He currently performs with Chris Devine as the Devine-Nix Duo.
for Solo 7-String Banjar
Koromanti is based on music of a gathering or festival of the enslaved in Jamaica in 1688, transcribed by a Mr. Baptiste for the British explorer Hans Sloan and published in the 1707 volume
“Voyage to the Islands of Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica”.
Sloan’s transcription was originally in three sections. I have used the themes from each of sections, and added my own material to make it parse well for modern ears.
Premiered at the Smithsonian, Washington D.C. in 2019.
for Seven String Banjar
Barton Cove contrasts the texture of melody supported by classical guitar arpeggios with banjo downstroke technique and the use of the characteristic chanterelle drone string in both melodic and harmonic function.
Barton Cove refers to a beautiful spot on the Connecticut River behind the Great Falls that was the site of a Native American massacre on May 19, 1676, by the English leading to the defeat of the tribes in King Phillips war. Not programmatic, the work evokes bitter-sweet image.
Small Moon, Movement III for Electric Guitar Quartet
Small Moon, composed for electric guitar quartet is based on my travels in Asia. It is an exploration of development over time within the minimalist style. It was premiered March 25, 2012 in a “Meridians” concert at the Academy of Music in Northampton, MA. The guitars are vintage electric guitars played through tube amplifiers. The players are members of the Devine-Nix duo, and Duo Orfeo.