USM Symphony’s 104th season last for retiring director Michael Miles

USM symphony leader leaving
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 9:37 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is about to begin its 104th season.

It will be the last for the organization’s current director of orchestral activities, Michael Miles, who has announced his retirement.

“I’m retiring from higher education and I’m moving into my new role as full-time grandfather,” Miles said. “I’ve done so many things, I’ve been so honored to be able to share wisdom with young people and provide them with life-altering experiences.”

Before he becomes a full-time grandad, Miles will have one more year as full-time leader for the orchestra, which will celebrate its 104th season with a series of concerts under the theme “Voyages.”

“We plan to take our audience on a voyage around the world, experiencing a variety of cultures and stops along the way,” Miles said. “They’re gonna hear music that will enliven their spirit from all over the world.”

Meanwhile, the USM School of Music has begun a world-wide search for a new orchestra director.

Applications are being taken until Oct. 30.

“It’s an international search,” said Colin McKenzie, director of the School of Music at USM. “We anticipate applications from all over the globe because our orchestra is an incredibly fine orchestra and we are very proud of it. We’re proud of the work the students do.

“So, this person has a unique opportunity to come and shape part of the future of the school.”

Miles became director of orchestral activities in 2018.

He also has served as director of the USM School of Music for six years.

Before Miles became the symphony’s director, it was led by Jay Dean, who held that position for 30 years.

The new season for the USM Symphony Orchestra begins on Oct. 3, with a concert titled, “South American Rhythms.”

To purchase season tickets or tickets for individual concerts, go to

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