Percy Hilder Miles

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Percy Hilder Miles (12 July 1878 – 18 April 1922)[1][2][3] was an English[4] composer, conductor and violinist. Among his students at the Royal Academy of Music (she studied there from 1903 to 1905) was Rebecca Clarke, and among Miles' associates was Lionel Tertis.

Miles was born in Erith, London, and was a student at the Royal Academy of Music from June 1893. His teachers there included Walter Battison Haynes and violinist Hans Wessely.[2][5]

Miles is credited with having given Tertis the idea of taking up the viola as an instrument.[6] Also, he proposed to his pupil Rebecca Clarke, which is believed to have led to her father's withdrawing her from that institution and enrolling her in the Royal College of Music instead (she later studied composition with Charles Villiers Stanford, and viola with Tertis.)

He appeared several times in The Musical Times in the late 1890s performing works of others and at least once his own also. According to a brief biography in one of these articles in 1899, he won the first Sauret prize in 1897, the Hine Exhibition composition prize in 1893, the MacFarren Scholarship (Walter or George Alexander?) in 1896 (awarded 8 January 1896)[1] and the Charles Lucas Medal in mid summer 1898, as well as the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1899.[2][5] 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- explanation on p. 107, see note) from the Worshipful Company of Musicians.[7]

There is a record of Miles' taking a trip to Australia during which he helped preside over examinations on behalf of the RAM and the Royal College of Music both.[8]


Compositions include:

  • Piano Trio in C minor (by 1896 - performed by him then in St. James Hall)
  • Drei Fantasiestücke for String Quartet (composed in 1902)
  • String Sextet in G minor (with double bass instead of second cello) (published by Stainer & Bell, 1920)
  • 3 Pieces for Violin and Piano - Intermezzo, Capriccio, Romanza (published by Stainer & Bell, 1920. plate S&B 2158.)[9]
  • An Andante and Allegro for piano quintet. Won a silver medal in a competition about 1905.
  • Rustic Dance for Violin and Piano, published by the Associated Board in 1923.[9]
  • Fantasia in D for violin and orchestra (performed 1898)[10]

A cello concerto by Miles was announced for performance for the 1908 Promenade Concerts before the season began but was not in fact performed if in fact it was completed or completed in time. Some violin concertos are reported by Emery[4] to exist or have existed (as of 1928) in manuscript.

The fantasiestücke, violin pieces and the sextet are available online as scores or parts and as recordings.

A box containing a substantial number of Miles' compositions is stored at the Royal Academy of Music, mostly in manuscript, some published works also.[11] Some or most of the compositions are also in the collection. Included are, among other works the following:

  • Catalogue of some 166 works, begun in 1907 ("Pieces 1-142 dated between 1886 and 1907-8, plus 24 later entries")
  • three string quintets (two with double bass) (1895/1901, 1901, 1902)
  • variations for 2 fiddles, viola and cello, Karlsruhe 1902
  • 11 single movements for string trio (December 1902)
  • Trio no.1 in D for 2 violins and viola (parts), 1911
  • Grand solo for the viola 22.9.07 (“To Johnson. So difficult as to be absolutely impossible”)
  • Quintet in E major for clarinet and strings (1904, Erith)
  • Cello Concerto, March 1908, reduced score (cello and piano) and separate cello part only [12]
  • Cello sonata in C major 1916 (written in Vancouver)
  • Violin sonata in one movement
  • Rhapsody, for violin and piano, 1902
  • Waltz in F minor for piano, 1897
  • 5 interludes for piano, 1918
  • much vocal music including 3 Shakespeare Sonnets, 1906


  1. ^ a b Musical Times through Google Books. 37. 1 February 1896. p. 98. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Musical Times through Google Books. 1 April 1899. pp. 239–240. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  3. ^ Death date from an obituary in the June 1922 issue of The Strad, which specifies age (43) and date (18 April). The Rebecca Clarke website,, confirms year of death 1922.
  4. ^ a b Emery, Frederic Barclay (1928). The Violin Concerto - Through a Period of Nearly 300 Years, Covering about 3300 Concertos with Brief Biographies of 1000 Composers. Chicago: The Violin Literature Publishing Company. p. 223. OCLC 1476519.
  5. ^ a b Musical News, Volume 16 at Google Books, 8 April 1899 Issue, page 371.
  6. ^ White, John (2006). Lionel Tertis: the first great virtuoso of the viola. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. pp. 5–6, 303. OCLC 70765644.
  7. ^ The Worshipful Company of Musicians at Google Books, published 1905 by Livery Club of the company for private circulation, p.108.
  8. ^ The Associated Board (9 September 1911). "Results of 1911 Examinations". The West Australian. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  9. ^ a b Royal Academy of Music Library Catalog.
  10. ^ "Musical Gossip (description of Royal Academy of Music concert containing Miles' Fantasia)". The Athenæum. Edinburgh: J.C. Francis (3675): 446. 2 April 1898. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  11. ^ communications between Royal Academy of Music, a friend and myself.
  12. ^ whereabouts of orchestral scores and parts of Miles' symphonic works, if they exist, unknown as of February 2011

External links[edit]