Sue Miller – Cuban Flute Improviser, Writer & Academic

Research Interests

Cuban Music –  History, Analysis and Performance

Latin Music in the USA

Improvisation Studies

Creative Process in Improvisation

Performance Aesthetics

Analysis of Popular and ‘World’ musics

Music, Gesture and Dance Relationships

Performance and Production Collaborations

French Popular Music and Culture

New Areas in Ethnomusicology (interdisciplinary work)

History and Analysis of African American Music

African American Studies and the Concept of Signifyin(g) (the work of Henry Louis Gates and Samuel Floyd)

History and Analysis of Anglo-American Popular Music



Book Publications:

Sue’s first book Cuban Flute Style: Interpretation and Improvisation was published in 2014 by Scarecrow Press and looks at the history of the style and performance practice whilst analysing recorded solos in-depth and examining the relationship between composition, improvisation and the creative process.

Her second monograph Improvising Sabor: Cuban Dance Music in New York will be published by the University Press of Mississippi 2021 and looks at the performance practices of Cuban  dance music in New York.


Sue obtained a  PhD from the University of Leeds, UK in 2011, where she combined her practical work as a performer with more traditional research methods and academic writing. Her work has involved recording in the studio and live at concerts, with analysis, commentary and transcription of flute improvisations linked in to this practical side. Sue was supervised at the University of Leeds School of Music by Dr Luke Windsor.

Her research covers various academic areas such as music analysis, improvisation, black cultural studies, jazz studies, ethnomusicology, popular music/música popular and performance.

Her thesis and recordings portfolio  ‘Flute Improvisation in Cuban Charanga Performance’, had a specific focus on the work of Richard Egües and Orquesta Aragón and is available from the University of Leeds library.

Richard Egues and Sue Miller

Richard Egues and Sue Miller, 2001

Performance as Research:

Sue continues to perform with her band Charanga del Norte, putting her research into Cuban flute improvisation into practice. 20th Anniversary Events are planned for 2019 (See Recordings and Charanga del Norte pages as well as for more information).

Interdisciplinary Work:

A collaboration with dancer turned animator Guillermo ‘El Iyawo’ Davis is underway and a new animation short ‘Atilana’  based on this interdisciplinary research is planned for 2019.

Figure 15 Cirilo