I offer these photos for fun, as an indication of some my activities and collaborations. They do not represent the only or the most important collaborations or moments. They are a few photos that happened to be taken, that I happen to still have.


Photo by Wojtek Kaniewski

The piano remains as the most direct and effective means for me to express myself. I played a simple solo in 2014 at the beginning of a concert in Warsaw with Nancy, Ray Chung and Andrew Harwood.


Photo by Colleen Bartley

A concert of solo piano and improvised music with bassist David Leahy at Lumen in London on July 6, 2012. Click below to listen to their collaboration:

Part 1

Part 2

Photo by Jun Akiyama

Earthdance (Plainfield, MA) 2011. A version of the “no-piano” rig. I’ve collected a wide variety of small, light, sound makers, electronic and acoustic – as wide a color range as possible – including a looper and two iPods (loaded with 25 years’ worth of MV recordings) to serve as my “instruments” when there is no piano. Best case scenario: all of this stuff, plus a grand piano. Now I have a very small digital keyboard as well.

Photo by Raisa Kyllikki Karjalainen

Helsinki 2007. Drumming in an improvised setting is so direct, so challenging and so satisfying. Nancy Stark Smith and I worked with an amazing group of Finnish dancers for an entire month, culminating in three very nice performances at Zodiak.

Photo by Mark McCoin

Denver 2003. Working in Mark McCoin’s Brave New Audio studio, mastering "Relentless Paintings." Mark is a multi-media artist, master engineer, brilliant musician and composer who has inspired the Colorado art world (and me) for decades. He mastered many of my discs.

Photo by Eric Neurath

Boulder 1996. The Buzz Band. This was an amazing few years (’95-’98) in Colorado of collaborative composition and performance at its finest. Pictured (left to right, top to bottom) are Jesse Manno, Michael Stanwood (founder of the group,), MV, Mark McCoin, Ty Burhoe, Timothy Quigley, Aubrey Carton (eventually, James Hoskins and Vickie Dodd also joined the Buzz.)

photo by Paul Trachtman

Washington DC mid-80’s. Steve Bloom and I collaborated happily in a very concentrated way for many years. He had an ongoing project in those days he called Crux. For a few years it ended up being just the two of us. We played a lot - in concert, in the schools and in the studio. I learned so much from Steve. We also toured with Perlo/Bloom and Company (led by Carla Perlo and Steve), playing our music in Mexico City and Graz, Austria.

New York City

Photo by Tseng Kwong Chi

New York City 1984. Choreographer Muna Tseng commissioned a score, asking for glass harmonica. I played Eno-esque ambient melodies with my fingers, percussive patterns using chopsticks, all supported by a primitive sequencer and whale songs. It premiered at Theater of the Open Eye, and later Muna took this piece to the 14th St. Y, the Joyce Theater, London, etc.


Photographer unknown

Boulder late 70’s. We called ourselves Severely Bamba. I played with Doug Craft (bass and Arp 2600) and Ted Altenritter (drums and percussion) for about three years, often twice a week, usually at someone’s house, occasionally in public. We always improvised freely, only rarely with any initial idea of what to play. It was an intense and treasured experience for all of us, completely absorbing and fulfilling. The method was, “One, two, three, GO!” (Doug calls it Severely Bomba. That works, too!)

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