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Costa Brava

Photo by Nancy Stark Smith


Ninety-five percent of the music Mike Vargas has made was performed once and never heard again.  Since he first tried to turn a Chopin prelude into a bossa nova in the late ’60s, Vargas has been pursuing new and challenging situations in which to improvise, putting together sounds to suit the circumstance, gathering an ever wider range of styles, strategies and instruments along the way. 

The guiding principles in his pursuits have been exploration and adventure.  Choosing from the beginning to deliberately resist the commodification of his music, he has preferred to operate more or less invisibly, making the best music possible for relatively modest events around the world, while striving to put into action many of the twentieth century’s most exciting musical developments.

For the last ten years Vargas has found himself most often in rooms full of improvising dancers, collectively deciding on the nature of the dance in real time.

After forty years of inventing music on the spot, of investigating context-specific composition in diverse settings, he is looking into composing the situations themselves. 

©2011 Mike Vargas all materials on site, Web site design by Tony Silva