MTD Events

Grand Rapids Symphony Oboe Masterclass: Alexander Miller

Grand Rapids Symphony Oboe Masterclass: Alexander Miller

Date and Time

Monday, October 18, 2021 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM


Sherman van Solkema Recital Hall
Haas Center for Performing Arts


We are excited to bring in three performers from the Grand Rapids Symphony for Oboe Master Classes during the 2021-2022 Academic Year.

October 18, November 15, and February 14: Alexander Miller

Alexander Miller joined the Grand Rapids Symphony as its Assistant Principal Oboe in 1992. Previously, he was a substitute and stage band oboist with the Metropolitan Opera in New York while he completed his Master’s degree at The Juilliard School. Mr. Miller is also a member of Ensemble Montage, a chamber group dedicated to performing unusual and challenging works of the past century. During the summer, he plays with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California under Music Director Marin Alsop.

In the past, Mr. Miller has participated in the Aspen Music Festival, the National Repertory Orchestra and the Waterloo Festival. In the summer of 1993, he toured with the American-Russian Youth Orchestra throughout the United States and Russia.

Born in Royal Oak, Michigan to an art-loving mother and an automobile executive father, he grew up moving between foreign countries, living in Mexico City; in Melbourne, Australia; and in Caracas, Venezuela; where he was exposed to many kinds of music before returning to Michigan as a teenager. He graduated from Cranbrook Kingswood School, cum laude, in 1986, and moved to New York to study oboe at Juilliard with Elaine Douvas and John Ferrillo, earning both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Composition has also played an important role in Mr. Miller’s life. Though he never formally pursued a composition degree at Juilliard, he was the only non-composition student whose pieces were performed on the Juilliard Composer’s Forum concerts. His early student works also were performed in Boston, Detroit, the Queens College of Music, Studio 71 and the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Miller has seen most of his orchestral works premiered with the Grand Rapids Symphony. His works include: “Karawitan” (1995), based on Balinese gamelan music; “Fanfare” (1996); "Let Freedom Ring" (1998) for orchestra and narrator (based on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech); “into” (2001); “Grand Triptych” (2001), a multi-media work; “Dream Window” (2002); “All Together Now” (2003); “Fireworks” (2004); “Memory Box” (2007), for percussion ensemble; “For Helen” (2007); “Remix in D” (2009), a hip-hop-inspired remix of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”; “Music for Foxworth” (2010) and “Encaustic for Solo Clarinet and Orchestra” (2011), written for Suzanna Dennis Bratton and inspired by the process of painting with melted wax. His "Madame Bovary" Concerto for Cello and Orchestra was premiered by cellist Alicia Eppinga and the orchestra in September 2013 to open the Grand Rapids Symphony's 2013-14 season.

In particular, “Fireworks” has gone on to receive performances by several orchestras, including a performance in Carnegie Hall, and “Let Freedom Ring” has been performed by celebrity narrators such as James Earl Jones, Danny Glover, William Warfield, Harry Belafonte, and was recorded by former President of the United States William Jefferson Clinton prior to the opening of his presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In late 2009 Miller was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called a craniopharyngioma. He underwent two brain surgeries followed by a year of rehabilitation. His prognosis going forward is good though craniopharyngiomas tend to recur. His surgical team continues to monitor him closely, and he blogs about his experiences as a patient at Miller’s interests outside of music include aviation, modern art, wine collecting and mushroom hunting. He resides in East Grand Rapids with his wife, Grand Rapids Symphony violist Mary Jane Miller.

This event has been tagged as masterclass, and music.


Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance
(616) 331-3484


This event also occurs on 11/15/21 and 2/14/22

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Page last modified October 7, 2021