Aaron David Miller is noted for his highly imaginative and creative style, found in his performances, improvisations and compositions. Prize winner of several prestigious competitions, including the top prize at the AGO National Improvisation Competition, and the Bach and Improvisation prizes at the Calgary International Organ Festival Competition, he is noted for his fine performances of repertoire spanning all periods. He has received rave reviews when accompanying silent films. His recital performances have taken him across the country including being a featured performer at various conventions of the American Guild of Organists, and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, both regionally and nationally. Recently he was invited to be among the performers for a special 10th anniversary performance for the Rosales organ in Los Angeles Disney Hall. He performed an accompaniment for a silent film at the new Kaufmann Center for Arts in Kansas City. In 2015, Dr. Miller was invited to perform for the 100th anniversary of the Spreckel’s Organ (Balboa Park, San Diego), as well as compose a work for the occasion. In 2016 he was invited for a return engagement on the Spreckel’s organ and at Disney Hall, and was a featured performer for the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Houston, Texas. This year took him to the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
A prolific composer, many of Dr. Miller’s compositions have won critical acclaim. Featured prominently at the AGO National Convention in Chicago in 2006 , Dr. Miller’s work for organ and orchestra, Sleepy Hollow, was premiered at the opening concert at Symphony Hall. He has received numerous commissions. His Concerto for Two Organists, which was premiered and recorded by the Zurich Symphony, is available on the Ethereal label. The Toledo Symphony commissioned a work which was performed in celebration of their 60th anniversary season. Current commissions include works for ACDA-MN, the 2016 AGO National convention in Houston, and the 100th Anniversary for the organ in Balboa Park, San Diego. Dr. Miller’s many solo organ, choral, and orchestra compositions are published by Augsburg Fortress, Oxford University Press, Paraclete Press, ECS, Morning Star and Kjos Publishing House. Aaron has recorded two CDs, the first, showcasing his performances of Bach and his improvisatory skills is available on the Dulcian label. He recently produced a new CD on his own label titled “Clamor” featuring his own compositions, along with percussive instruments and soprano, available from CD Baby. He provided organ music for the soundtrack of the ELCA Mosaic’s DVD about the life of J. S. Bach, “Glory to God Alone”.
Aaron Miller’s early organ studies were with Carlene Neihart and David Schrader. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied organ performance with David Craighead, Russell Saunders, David Higgs, and Michael Farris, and composition with Samuel Adler and Joseph Schwantner. His graduate studies were taken at the Manhattan School of Music, where he completed his Master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, studying composition and organ performance with McNeil Robinson.
Aaron serves as the Director of Music and Organist at House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota and maintains an active recital schedule. He is a forensic musicologist for Donato Music in Scarsdale, NY.
Aaron David Miller is represented by Penny Lorenz Artist Management.
some photos by Joe Routon
"Organist thrills with improve skills. The first half of the concert exhibited Miller's strength as an interpreter. It was full of tremendous, propulsive energy; tastefully selected colors; and foot and finger technique to burn. While it was certainly a pleasure to hear a fine instrument played by a musician of such extraordinary artistry and technical prowess, what made the concert unusual was the fact that the second half of the program consisted of Miller improvising an entire four-movement sonata based on themes presented to him at intermission"
- Susan Peña, The Reading Eagle
"Aaron has one of the most vivid musical imaginations I've heard. His improvisations are nothing short of spectacular. People talk about improvisation being dead in the classical world. That might be true, but it's alive and kicking in Aaron. Any musician, classical or jazz, will find Aaron's creativity breathtaking."
- Dave Brubeck, Fourth Presbyterian Church
"Aaron was GREAT. ...and he just dazzled them, with both his playing and the warmth of his personality. The improvisations were spectacular: No question about it...he is an incredibly gifted young performer."
- Stephen Best, Director of Music/Organist, First Presbyterian Church, Utica, NY
"Dr. Miller presented an excellent program. Fine music performed with great insight and that very special quality of reaching a widely diverse audience through a combination of fine technique, intuitive musicality, and that certain "magic" of communication that eludes many other fine performers."
- William Hansen, Piporg-l
"What a superb player! Elegant music-making throughout and the concluding improvisation was wonderful!"
- Jerome Butera, Editor, The Diapason
Miller was the evening's improviser. Taking suggestions from the audience, he came up with "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, an original tune someone submitted, "Over the Rainbow" and the theme from "Superman." He riffed from one to the next, turning the organ into an audible color wheel as he went along. Most of the time Miller produced an impressive haze of swirling virtuosity, with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as the inspired slow, quiet bit."
-Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times review of the 10th birthday celebration for the Rosales Organ, Disney Hall November 2014
"I remember from Calgary, how he made the Canonic Variations seem like delicious light entertainment...nothing methodical or heavy. Inspired! His improvisations are better than most composed music" - Michael Barone, Pipedreams
"Soloist Aaron David Miller closed the first half of the program with a dazzling improvisation and the second half with a partially orchestrated rendition of J. S. Bach's G Minor Fugue. The evening was an unquestioned success. Miller... showed himself to be an engaging soloist. His voicings were colorful, his use of rhythm vitalizing." - Steven Cornelius, The Toledo Blade
"Aaron's concert was absolutely stunning, and over the top! We were just thrilled with his stylistic playing, and of course, the brilliant improvisations." - Katherine Crosier, Hawaii Chapter AGO