An outsider among outsiders, Mike Barnett and his unique musical output epitomize individuality in its purest form. Modest beginnings made it necessary for Mike to explore his passion for music in his own way, and on his own terms. Untainted by preconceived notions and unrestrained by convention, he found his way into the world of composition through the back door and has been challenging musical establishments for nearly three decades.
Through an instinctive process of ingesting music of all kinds, Mike found his earliest vehicle of expression in the drum set. Late 70’s art rock and the virtuosity of European heavy metal had a major impact. Self-taught and self-motivated, Mike formed bands in his teens and began writing, performing and recording original music. The efforts of his early vision culminated in the band Phantom Crew, which went on to enjoy an active career through the late 80’s and all of the 90’s. During this time, Mike’s quest for musical growth led him to university study where he proved to be unique among his peers. Student composer concerts at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and later at the University of Colorado frequently featured works by Mike that outstripped his contemporaries in terms of originality and depth. Since earning the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 2004 from CU, Mike has continued to evolve into a stylistic anomaly.
Dr. Barnett’s output includes orchestral works, violin and piano concerti, a wind ensemble, a chamber opera and many chamber works, solo works and songs. His work is regularly performed around the world by prominent soloists and major ensembles. The newest and perhaps most interesting addition to his catalog is a recording of instrumental heavy metal/jazz/avant garde fusion written for electric violins, electric bass and drum set. The studio group, Stanley Chepaitis, violins, Nathan Santos, bass and Mike himself on drums is called Terminal Degree. Their debut CD The Middle of Nowhen is available commercially on all major web distribution sites.
Violin Concerto No. 1; Two Short Stories for Violin and Piano; The Smallest Circle Hath As Many Degrees As The Largest (string quartet); Utraque Unum (clarinet and piano); Megakosmos for digital orchestra; Caress of the Serpent (piano quintet); Ask the Wind (piano trio); Music for the Ancient Spirits (string quartet); Lucifer Rising (piano and orchestra); The Hot Winds of Death (wind ensemble); Lunar Rhapsody (solo piano); Soul Drippings (solo piano); Cosmosis (orchestra and MIDI keyboard w/ MAX patch); Broken (orchestra); Cascades for Four Horns
The heart and soul of a true artist are made of rare things, and the courage to stand alone is equally uncommon. With his own matchless voice Mike has created a body of work that continues to distinguish him in an ocean of predictability.