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Percy Hilder Miles

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Compositions for: Violin

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3 Fantasy Pieces for String Quartet3 Pieces for Violin and PianoClarinet QuintetQuintett-SatzRomantic Piece for Violin and PianoString Quartet No.1String Quartet No.2String Quintet No.2String Sextet in G minorTrio No.2 for 2 Violins and Viola in B-flat major

Parts for: Violin

3 Fantasy Pieces for String Quartet
Percy Hilder Miles (12 July 1878 – 18 April 1922) was an English Professor of Harmony, Examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, composer, and violinist. Among his students at the Royal Academy of Music was Rebecca Clarke, and among Miles' associates was Lionel Tertis.
Miles was born in Crayford, Kent, to parents George Miles (a building contractor) and Fanny Hood, of Bexleyheath, Kent. Percy's earliest compositions date from when he was 8 years-old and at the age of 13, he performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto at St. James' Hall, Piccadilly, with the Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, Alexander MacKenzie, conducting. Percy became a student at the Royal Academy of Music from June 1893. His teachers there included F W Davenport, Walter Battison Haynes (for composition) and violinist Hans Wessely.
In 1895 Miles suggested to Lionel Tertis (then also a violin pupil of Wessely at the RAM) the idea of switching to the viola, in order for them to form a string quartet. His name appeared several times in The Musical Times in the late 1890s connected with performances of his own compositions and for those of other contemporaries. According to a brief biography in one of these articles in 1899, he won the Hine Exhibition composition prize in 1893, the Walter MacFarren Scholarship in 1896 (awarded 8 January 1896) the first Sauret prize in 1897, plus the Charles Lucas Medal in mid summer 1898, as well as the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1899, which was presented to him by Sir John Stainer. In 1896 he received a silver medal (presented annually to the most distinguished student at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, or the Guildhall School of Music, in rotation, the recipient nominated by the principal or director of the school) from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. As a student he also performed alongside his violin teacher Hans Wessely as second violin for chamber music concerts across London.
He was made a sub-professor at the RAM in 1899 and in 1903, upon his return from Mendelssohn Scholarship studies in Vienna, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Paris and Milan, Percy became a full professor of Harmony and Counterpoint. Among his Harmony students was Rebecca Clarke who studied there from 1903 to 1905. He had become a friend of the Clarke family in the years before and had recommended she study Harmony with him and the violin with Wessely. However her father removed her from the RAM when Miles suddenly proposed marriage and kissed her after a lesson in 1905. This led to her being enrolled in the Royal College of Music where she studied composition with Charles Villiers Stanford, who suggested she take up the viola which she later studied with Percy's friend Lionel Tertis.
In 1906 Miles became an overseas examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. This led to long periods of travel across the British Empire, including Australia . Percy went around the world no fewer than six times, sometimes visiting his brothers in Canada and relatives in Jamaica and Australia. One of his cousins was the famous Australian water colourist J J Hilder.
A cello concerto by Miles initially dedicated to and rehearsed with Herbert Withers (1880–1961) was announced for performance on 3 September 1908 in Henry Wood's Promenade Concerts. However it was not in fact performed as Miles voyaged to Australia in April 1908 and the orchestral parts were not completed in time. Instead Withers performed the Dvorak Concerto and Percy put a line through the dedication to Withers. The orchestral score is lost, but the cello and piano accompaniment parts survive.
Financially secure from Examining, though still living with his parents in Erith, he paid off his father's mortgage and debts and in 1909 he purchased a grand piano and a Stradivarius violin made in 1720, known as the "General Kyd”. He bequeathed this to Rebecca Clarke in his Last Will and Testament of 1912.
Although aged 36 at the outbreak of World War I, Percy was keen to enlist. Indeed, despite his age he was called-up several times and presented himself at Woolwich. However he failed the medical on each occasion, either because of his eyesight or weak lungs.
He was reluctant to have his works published although a handful were; his biggest success came in 1920 when his String Sextet, (alongside works by Sir George Dyson, Charles Villiers Stanford and Gustav Holst) was selected from 64 entries for the Carnegie Collection of British Music award, the prize being publication of the score by Stainer & Bell.
In 1922 Miles went blind in one eye and also caught pneumonia which took his life on 18 April of that year. According to his catalogue, he left over 160 works, (mainly chamber music and songs), half of which his mother sent to his brothers in Canada after his death. Some are now deemed lost but there are around 100 manuscripts still with relatives in Canada and around 40 survive in the RAM Archive. He never married and lies buried with his parents in Brook Street cemetery, Erith.
Compositions, mostly in Manuscript, held by the Royal Academy of Music Archive, London include:
Winner of Carnegie Trust Award (alongside Holst's "Hymn of Jesus" and Stanford 5th Symphony)
Miscellaneous items also held by RAM Archive
Manuscripts held by Percy's great nephew William Stantan Miles in Canada
Winner of Carnegie Trust Award (alongside Holst's "Hymn of Jesus" and Stanford 5th Symphony)
Miscellaneous items also held by W S Miles:
Manuscripts presumed lost:
Works mentioned in Musical Times reviews:
Several of Miles' works are available here: as scores or parts and as recordings.