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At the opposite end of the scale from his large ensemble composition projects, Mike is engaged in an ongoing investigation of the challenges and unique possibilities of unaccompanied solo playing. 

His interest in playing solo grew out of his PhD project, and the resulting piece Picasso(s), which draws together Coleman Hawkins' 1948 piece Picasso and Pablo Picasso's Las Meninas. Since completing his PhD in 2018 he has performed the piece in the UK, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Spain.

In 2021 he was awarded an Arts Council England DYCP grant to develop an improvisational approach to the Northumbrian Smallpipe, which will remain a work in progress for many years to come. 

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