Michael Nix is a contemporary classical composer, guitarist and performer. Nix lives and teaches in the tranquil Pioneer Valley of Franklin County in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Nix and NixWorks has performed in venues around the world and is highly renowned.

Nix classical composer guitarist

Michael Nix, Banjar, Guitar, Mandolin



“Michael Nix takes the listener along on a new voyage with a completely different musical vessel. Listeners will discover a shimmering versatility.” --Ritchie Davis, The Recorder

"Breathtakingly beautiful to hear."  --Peter Mix, "Acoustic Musician" Magazine

Thank you for presenting such a stunning concert...” --Brick Church Series, Old Deerfield, MA

“Wonderfully warm and inspiring”--Ruth Ehrenberg, Tuesday Morning Music, Springfield, MA

 “outstanding both for composition and interpretation. Colorful, intense, and dissonant by turns, ... a stellar addition ... a definitive performance." --Marilyn Mair, Mandolin Quarterly

 

The Banjar-A Seven String

Classical Banjo

Michael Nix designed the seven string Banjar, combining elements of the classic five string banjo and the classical guitar. The seven high tension nylon strings sound somewhat like a cross between the banjo and a lute or harpsichord.


"One of the great goals of the creative musician is to develop a unique, recognizable timbre. I set out to design an acoustic instrument that would satisfy my seemingly divergent interests in finger style guitar, and banjo styles, and to satisfy the quest for a particular timbre that existed in my imagination. I heard a deep round sound from the vibrating membrane that could produce the same sort of wide range of timbre of which the classical guitar is capable. I also wanted the instrument to be able to maintain two, three, or four voices simultaneously, and to render the wide range of musical style in which I work.

The Banjar combines elements of the classic five string banjo and the classical guitar. The seven high tension nylon strings sound somewhat like a cross between the banjo and a lute or harpsichord. I took the name Banjar from the early usage (according to Dena Epstein and Robert Webb) in both Barbados and and Virginia at the time of Thomas Jefferson in the late 1700's. "

--Michael Nix

People have described Nix's concerts as "touching" and "transcendent". He combines lyrical expression with an insatiable musical curiosity to forge an intriguing performance style.

Nix has received numerous awards and commissions for his compositions, and has performed on Guitrar, Banjo, and Mandolin, throughout the United States and Asia .

CD Discography

-"Barton Cove" Michael Nix solo Banjar

Original compositions, and arrangements of music from many disciplines including ragtime, Stephen Foster, O'carolan, classical banjo pieces, Beatles, and baroque guitar dances.

-"Preludes, Airs, and Dances" Michael Nix solo Classical Guitar,

Original compositions, Spanish classical guitar favorites, dances from Brazil, New England contra dances.

-"World View"  Pioneer Consort, with Michael Nix banjar, guitar, and mandolin

World Chamber Music. Original compositions, and arrangements of music from many disciplines including folk musics from Brazil and Ireland, classic jazz, Tangos, and colorful arrangements of classics.

-"Noel" Pioneer Consort, with Michael Nix banjar, guitar, and mandolin.
Holiday Season favorites.

-"East & West" The Moser/Nix Duo,
Michael Nix Guitar; Charlie Moser, Mandolin.

Russian dances, Irish fiddle tunes, Brazilian Choro, Bartok Rumanian Folk Dances, Rags, and the Third Man Theme.

 

 Michael Nix

Biography

Michael Nix performs on Banjar, classical guitar, banjo, lute, 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 "Weekend Edition", and other NPR programs.

Michael Nix plays on the seven string Banjar, an instrument he has designed, which combines elements of the classical five string banjo and the classical guitar.  The Banjar's seven high tension nylon strings sound somewhat like a cross between the banjo and guitar or lute. Nix combines lyrical expression with an insatiable musical curiosity to forge an intriguing performance style incorporating various styles and textures drawn from classical guitar and banjo, jazz, blues, folk. His repertoire includes original compositions, jazz, ragtime, Irish and folk music,  Renaissance and Baroque lute dances, and pieces from the classical banjo and classical guitar canon.
   
    Nix is currently on the Massachusetts Touring Program. He was member of The Moser/Nix Duo, performing music and recording for mandolin and guitar. He 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 1977 to 1992 Michael toured and performed at folk and bluegrass festivals with singer and songwriter Rick Fiske playing 5-string banjo. He was a featured performer for the Connecticut Classical Guitar Society's Andres Segovia outreach program "The Guitar About Town. Nix formed The NixWorks Ensemble, a flexible chamber ensemble, to explore multiple creative influences and genre.  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 formed The Pioneer Consort, with violinist Chris Devine, and cellist Greg Snedeker to play World Chamber Music.  He performs with Chris Devine as the Devine-Nix Duo.  Recently Nix played a number of concerts and participated in Seegerfest, commemorating the life of banjo player Pete Seeger.

His awards and commissions includes a 2002 assignment by The Ann Sorvino Dance Project, to compose and perform a dance work "Labyrinth" commemorating the 9-11 tragedy, which will tour the US and Europe in the summer of 2003. Nix was awarded grants to perform "New Music From the Northeast", a program of original music and works by composers from New York and New England. In 1991 he was selected as Massachusetts Music Teacher's Assn. composer of the year.

His work combines traditional classical techniques, with influences from classical, folk, jazz and world music.

 

The Banjar: The Art of the Modern 7 String Banjo

2014-2015  Program Repertoire

Michael Nix

2 set program with intermission, 1 hour program, or 45 min. program


Original compositions by Michael Nix:

Wintersong     
Greensleeves Variations                   
Barton Cove                       
Choro                             
Spanish Fandango Variations   for classical banjo


Guitar inspired instrumentals:
  
    

Nao me toquas -- Zequina Arbeu    
Tico Tico -- Zequina Arbeu
Dallas Rag (1927) --  Dallas String Band    
Summertime -- Gershwin            
Canarios  --  Gaspar Sanz
Lord Inchequin/Carolan's Concerto -- Turlough  O'Carolan, arr. Nix
Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 (G) -- J.S. Bach        
Sarabande from Bm Violin Partita -- J.S. Bach    
Bouree from Em suite -- J.S. Bach    


Classical and folk banjo inspired instrumentals:
   

Precious Memories    (1925) -- J.B.F. Wright         
Zarana (Oriental Quick Step) -- Joe Morley 
 
          

Songs:

Hard Times Come Again No More -- Stephen Foster
I'll Fly Away -- Albert Brumley
If I had a Hammer  -- Pete Seeger, Lee Hays
                                (arr. Wyatt/Nix)
Fields of Harmony -- Pete Seeger
Somewhere Over the Rainbow -- Arlen (arr. Nix)
Summertime -- Gershwin (arr. Nix)
  


 
To see video and hear audio recording of the Banjar
visit the Media page
For bookings or
more information
email:
 
info (at) nixworks (dot) com



performance calendar
CD's and more
available - visit our
recordings page

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