From Bach to Bowie, east coast to west coast, piano keyboards to computer keyboards, Mike Garson has worked to make the world a more creative, compassionate and compelling place. He remains a man of many talents and limitless inspiration. No artistic medium is off-limits to this avant-garde individual to whom the word “no” is quickly transformed into the word “now.”
Best known for his impressive skills as a pianist, he is a respected composer and an evolving computer artist. Embracing the idea of the “Renaissance Man,” Mike continually experiments with new ways through which he can communicate his humanistic ideals and hopes for the world in which he lives.
In his youth, Mike studied classical composition with Leonard Eisner of Juilliard and earned degrees in Music and Education from Brooklyn College. He also studied with Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Hal Overton, Robert Starer and Lennie Tristano. He has played with Stanley Clarke, Elvin Jones, Lee Konitz, Stan Getz and Freddie Hubbard.
Mike is perhaps best known for his relationship with David Bowie, which began in late 1971. He made his mark on numerous Bowie albums and has traveled thousands of miles on Bowie tours, including his 2003-04 "A Reality Tour," Bowie's first world tour in 20 years. In November 2006, Mike accompanied Bowie and Alicia Keys during a unique performance of "Changes" at an AIDS benefit in New York City which ended up being Bowie's final public U.S. performance.
Mike's solid reputation for creativity and quality has motivated many other musicians to invite him to record on their albums, including Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins, , No Doubt, and Trent Reznor, whom Mike first met during David Bowie's 1996 "Outside" tour. Trent featured Mike on several tracks of Nine Inch Nails' "The Fragile" album. Mike can also be heard on Seal's "Human Being" as well as a bonus track at the end of No Doubt's "Return of Saturn" album.
Since 1982, Mike has been a member of Free Flight, a jazz and classical ensemble featuring renowned flutist Jim Walker. In addition to serving as the group's pianist, Mike composed most of their music. Free Flight appeared four times on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Mike and Billy Corgan collaborated in 1999, co-composing the score of the film Stigmata. Among their collaborations was the haunting hit “Identify,” which was performed by Natalie Imbruglia. In 2014, Mike and Trent Reznor collaborated on the song "Just Like You" for the hit film Gone Girl.
A lifelong learner, Mike has taught students at master classes and through private instruction. Mike has appeared at universities around the world where he has both guest lectured and performed for numerous music students and public audiences.
Mike grew up wanting to be a doctor. He was pre-med at Brooklyn College in 1963 before the piano playing portion of his brain took over. More recently, Mike began to discover the effect and the power that music can play in the healing process and he began collaborating with Dr. Chris Duma, a renowned brain surgeon specialist, from Newport Beach, California, to further explore the possibilities.
Mike premiered his commissioned work, "Symphonic Healing Suite" on March 1, 2014 at the Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, California. Written in collaboration with patients with various disorders and ailments, this work is a set of movements of original music compositions. The follow-up concert, Music Heals II, in conjunction with the Foundation for Neuroscience, Stroke and Recovery, took place on November 2, 2014.
Mike was been commissioned by the New West Symphony Orchestra and premiered his piece entitled "Viola Variations on a Theme of Paganini" in January 2015.
Mike's purpose has always been to inspire and affect lives in a positive way through his music. His hope is that through his music he can help people achieve their dreams. Embracing the idea of creative, spiritual and professional growth, Mike continues to explore new avenues through which he can use his multifaceted talents to provide healing, enjoyment and inspiration to people. To date, Mike has composed over 4000 pieces of music and touched countless people with his motivational music. According to Mike: “If I am truly passionate about and love what I do, I believe that feeling can be transmitted to and inspire the people who receive my art.”