The Guildhall School is delighted to announce that Cassandra Miller has been appointed as Associate Head of Composition from September 2018.

Cassandra Miller is a Canadian composer of chamber and orchestral music. For the last few years, her compositions have explored the transcription of pre-existing music (0ften vocal) as a way to translate it musicality/vocality into another experience. Her present work also involves direct and personal collaboration with a wide international network of solo musicians, as well as ensembles and orchestras.

Miller has twice received the Jules-Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, Canada’s highest honour for composition, for Bel Canto in 2011 and About Bach in 2016. Her concerto written for the cellist Charles Curtis with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra was hailed as an ‘unexpected highlight of the festival.’

Her works are often written with specific performers in mind, involving their intimate participation in the creative process. Her closest collaborators in this fashion have included soprano Juliet Fraser, the Quatuor Bozzini, conductor Ilan Volkov, cellist Charles Curtis, pianist Philip Thomas, violinist Silvia Tarozzi and violinist Mira Benjamin. Pieces written expressly for them have been toured and performed across the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Norway, Uruguay, the United States and Canada. Over the last 15 years she received over 25 professional commissions from soloists, ensembles and orchestras both in Canada and across Europe. Notable performers include the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble, the London Sinfonietta, I Musici de Montréal, Ensemble Plus-Minus, the late great Ensemble Kore, Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, Continuum Contemporary Music, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Teaching forms an important part of her artistic life, having given university lectures, private tutorials, masterclasses, and workshop-style coaching. Her teaching philosophy prioritises inclusivity and diversity, and questions canonization.

Cassandra Miller commented, ‘What impresses me about the composition faculty members at Guildhall is their attitude of bringing their whole selves into the classroom—growing in collaboration with students, engaging together with the challenges of artistic experience. The undergraduate course is expertly designed to balance the depth of knowledge that comes from canonical teachings with non-canonical musical inquiries. To this I bring my own questions about the role of the composer, and about the place of my own voice and body in the creative process.’

Julian Philips, Head of Composition at Guildhall commented, ‘We are all absolutely delighted that composer Cassandra Miller is joining our composition department as Associate Head. She is a wonderfully distinctive and unique composer, and a warm and generous spirited artist. Her music reconciles a strongly human expressivity with her very particular interest in alternative kinds of transcribing and found sounds. Many of our student and staff composers are already fascinated with her music, and I feel sure she will bring new energies and expertise to Guildhall’s lively composing community. We will also be working together closely to advance diversity and inclusiveness in composition at the Guildhall School.’

 

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