Friday, May 8, 2009

Richard Miller joins the Company of Heaven

I just learned last night from the Collaborative Piano Blog that vocal pedagogue Richard Miller has died. Chris at the CPB has posted the press release and you can find more information at the Oberlin Conservatory where Miller taught.

On a personal note, I have had a few opportunities to work with and hear Richard Miller speak about singing. When I was a young singer and just graduated from the University of Toronto, my teacher Mary Morrison encouraged me to sign up for his master class series that was being hosted at the University of Ottawa. That master class was pivotal in my life for many reasons - it was there that Miller encouraged me to do my graduate work with the late Dr. William McIver at Eastman. I also met my future sister-in-law and many people who would become friends and colleagues.

Just last year I attended Paul Kiesgen's week-long workshop titled Training Soprano Voices at Indiana University. After 4 days of discussing the history of pedagogy writing and the issues related specifically to the female voice, Miller arrived to talk about his own writings and to teach some of the young singers. What was incredible to me was that after 40 years of teaching and writing and lecturing all over the world, he still had the same passion and energy I had heard almost 15 years earlier! He was still committed to his message and to getting the most out of a singer and their teacher.

He was truly an inspiration and his writings will forever prove to be the most influential of the 20th Century.

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