It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self
— D.W. Winnicott

Known for her ability to play with enthusiasm, nuance and strength, Mia Pixley is a cellist, singer- songwriter, and composer. Mia began playing the cello at the age of four through the University of Texas at Austin Youth String Project-and thankfully so. As an Afr0-hispanic youngster in an all white environment, music was a way for Mia to access and communicate her emotional life and sense of racial isolation. She continues to use music in this way, choosing to play the cello in a unique manner that speaks to her ancestral heritages, life experience, and simply put, the way she rolls. The most delightful part of the journey developing her musical skill and voice is the connection and collaboration with others that playing music allows.

Mia has collaborated in award winning Off-Broadway theater productions (Soho Rep and Ars Nova produced, Futurity), film, and performance art compositions. Last year, she recorded cello on Fantastic Negrito's second GRAMMY award winning album, "Please Don't be Dead", which won Best Contemporary Blues. Most recently, she had the honor of playing cello on Barbara Higbie's beautiful album, "Resonance". In 2018, Mia released her positively reviewed debut EP, "Inside Under", through her previous musical alias Baeilou. She is set to release a music and visual art collaboration titled, "Spar Suite", which explores experiences of loss, mourning, and peace.

She is a recent graduate of San Francisco Conservatory of Music (PSD, Class of ‘18). She has studied classical cello with Joel Becktell, Wendy Sutter, (previous cellist of Bang On A Can), and Jennifer Culp (previous cellist of Kronos Quartet). Mia has also studied with Mark Summer (previous cellist of the Turtle Island Quartet) to learn extended cello techniques and study composition. She found her singing voice post-college, while playing in the inimitable all female vaudeville cabaret cello, accordion, percussion, vocal trio called The Debutante Hour.


Mia has shared the stage with GRAMMY nominated Barbara Higbie, GRAMMY award winning Will Ackerman, Vicki Randle, Cris Williamson, Teresa Trull, and Julie Wolf. She has also toured with Windham Hill and joins them again for their 2019 Winter Solistice Tour.

Mia holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from CUNY Graduate Center and considers her musical endeavors an extension of her interests in psychology. She has a BA from Columbia University. Mia cares about mental health, community, and nature.

She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband, Kevin Shaw, and their young son. Kevin Shaw is the visual artist behind all of the art you see around this website ( Her young son is often the inspiration behind all of it (or the reason she creates music in order to keep her sanity, whichever really).