Philip Miller Wins Best Soundtrack at the 2014 Wawelas

Philip Miller has won the 2014 Wawela award for Best Soundtrack in a Feature Film for his work on the film Mary & Martha, at the inaugural Wawela Musical Awards. The Wawelas seek to celebrate outstanding talent and work done by SAMRO (Southern African Music Rights Organisation) members on the local and international scene.

The clip below is an emotional scene from Mary & Martha which showcases a small sample of the award-winning soundtrack.

Extracts from the Underground

Philip’s latest project, Extracts from the Underground, is currently running at Wits Arts Museum (WAM), from June 5 to 26. Opening hours are from Wednesdays to Sundays 10am to 4pm.

Extracts from the Underground is an original South African sound and visual installation which tries to personalise the human experience within the anonymity of the industrial mining sector.

The sound and pictures will be pumped into the streets and people passing WAM will hear the sounds of Miller’s constant collaborator Bham Ntabeni, the vocalist and musician and see the videos of the brilliant Catherine Meyburgh as they’re projected on to the glass windows and walls of the museum. Nearly two years on from the strikes at Marikana’s Lonmin Platinum Mine, South Africans are still trying to process and understand the killing of 34 miners by armed police. The scenes broadcast throughout the mass media bring the horrors of a seemingly concluded past into an increasingly troubled present

To read more about the installation, visit this iol article: “A musical journey down the mineshafts”.

You can see the succeeded project pitch on the ISPA (International  Society for the Performing Arts) website.

IOL Extracts 2

Research of Philip’s Projects in Media


Refusal of Time (William Kentridge)


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A Ciné Concert by Philip Miller and William Kentridge

This is the latest project in an ongoing collaboration between the Johannesburg-born visual artist William Kentridge and his South African compatriot Philip Miller. Their artistic partnership dates back to Kentridge’s 1993 film Felix in Exile, part of his celebrated Soho Eckstein series for which Miller wrote the score. Paper Music features a selection of 10 Kentridge films with music by Miller, including three that were presented at the dOCUMENTA (13) exhibition as part of The Refusal of Time installation.

Metropolitan Museum and SFMOMA Jointly Acquire “The Refusal of Time”

(New York and San Francisco, October 16, 2013)— Marking a major collaboration between two leading U.S. museums, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced today the joint acquisition of South African artist William Kentridge’s major multimedia installation The Refusal of Time (2012). Read more

Miller at Parashophia: Kyoto

As a prelude to Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015, almost exactly a year in advance, we will present the Asian premiere of South African artist William Kentridge’s large-scale video installation, The Refusal of Time (2012). Read more

Philip Miller’s newest opera

Philip Miller's newest work

Philip Miller’s newest work

Extracts From The Underground is an original South African work of musical theatre, envisaged both as a live performance and installation. Extracts personalises the human experience within the anonymity of the industrial mining sector. The brainchild of award-winning musical composer Philip Miller, this is a work unique in both subject and execution. Both historical and acutely contemporary, Extracts  will resonate with audiences in South Africa and abroad.

Over the course of the live performance, the audience embarks on a journey of descent: traveling from ground level into the deepest reaches of the earth’s rock-face, and so into the hidden strata of South African history. At different points in the vertical journey, the lift comes to a halt allowing a group of miners to tell their stories of life and labour underground: the risks, accidents and challenges of heat exhaustion, dust inhalation and hearing loss.

This work is relevant both locally and globally. Using the recent tragic events at Marikana as a flashpoint, the work offers a unique insight into a South African miner’s experience. Globally, the mining industry has come to epitomise the disparities of power between management and labour.

The opera is a meditation on the sound-world and improvised spoken languages heard within the depths of a South African mine.

Miller’s libretto features three rare archival sources:

1 A 1967 Miners’ Fanakalo Dictionary, issued by the Transvaal Chamber of Mines. Fanakalo is a pidgin language originating in the South African mines.

2 A Register of Mining Accidents  from the mining company, Simmer and Jack Mines, housed in the Cullinan Library at the University of Witwatersrand.  The Register dates from the 1930’s.

3 Reportage – both historical newsreel footage from the 1970’s and contemporary broadcasts of mining unrest at Marikana, Lonmin Platinum Mines.

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 4.07.08 PM Miller blends multiple choral traditions – from the a cappella singing of the miners’ choirs (Isicathamiya) to the current protest songs of the labour movement. The singers create the rhythms and sounds of the miners’ tools: the shovels, drills, pick axes, explosives, and heavy machinery that turn underground life into an intense cacophony.

Another point of innovation is that the singers play a specially devised ‘sound-sculpture’. This is made up of a series of mining picks individually tuned to distinct musical notes. This sound-sculpture serves as both a musical instrument and a theatrical element of the staging and design.

Listen to the work here and watch the promotional video here.

“The Refusal of Time” live in Hamburg

Refuse the Hour

“Time is the choreographer ,” says William Kentridge and that is to understand first of all, literally, refers to this statement on the action on stage . Together with composer Philip Miller, the choreographer Dada Masilo and video artist Catherine Meyburgh, Kentridge presents in this work a complex universe of musical notes, words, song and dance, powered by machines that evoke the era of European Futurism and the clock for actors, dancers and singers. He controls these artistic multiple structures with periodically presented reflections on physical, philosophical, and historical dimensions of time. From art to science, from science to policy.
With great ease and great wit all limits are exceeded in this performance, and stripped the absolute time of Newton, the relative time of Einstein and the distorted space-time near black holes. “Refuse the Hour” shows how time also choreographs the world – from ancient times to the colonial history.

Philip Miller gets the nod from the Academy

South African composer Philip Miller has been nominated for an Emmy Award for best original dramatic score for a mini-series or movie for his soundtrack to the film The Girl.Emmy-Awards

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Miller awarded at the inaugural Wawela Awards

On Friday, 28 June, a constellation of the country’s music stars gathered at the Sandton Convention Centre to pay tribute to an elite group of music composers and authors whose work has made a significant impact locally and abroad in the inaugural Wawela Music Awards.