FEATURE

The Love Song of Miller Theatre

New music, early music, and all that jazz: Columbia’s Miller Theatre, now celebrating its 25th season, continues a tradition of cutting-edge programming and performance that reaches back to Charles Ives and T. S. Eliot.

by Paul Hond Published Winter 2013-14
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Mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway and Ensemble Signal perform Georg Friedrich Haas’s “Atthis”, for soprano and eight instruments, in October. / Photograph by Matthew MurphyLet us go then, you and I,
To Miller Theatre, the music high
Like a falsetto from the Tower of Babel;
Let us go, through certain busy New York streets,
The melody and beats
Of Miller nights filled with orchestral swells
And madrigals, drums, and buffalo bells:
Streets that head to early- and new-music events
Of innovative content
And lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “Where is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the people come and go
Talking of the Horszowski Trio.

Pianist Stephen Gosling and other members of the ensemble Either/Or rehearse for the December 5 US premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s “Ró/Serenity”. / Photograph by Rachel CrittendenThe sound that rubs up against the audience’s brains,
The Cage and Reich and Zorn that nuzzles audience’s brains
Licked its tongue into the corners of the campus,
Lingered upon the steel of subway trains,
Let fall upon its back the light that falls from lanterns,
Slipped by the Low steps, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a spring semester night,
Curled once about the Miller, and sang deep.

And indeed there will be time
For you to hear a music-performance treat,
Rubbing upon the audience’s brains;
There will be time, but not much time
To get tickets for a twenty-fifth-year-season seat;
There will be time to hear Zenón and Bach,
And time for the works of quartets and bands
That lift and drop harmonies on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred compositions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the end of anniversary.

Pianist Aaron Diehl, bassist David Wong, and drummer Rodney Green — the Aaron Diehl Trio — on the Miller stage in November. / Photograph by Matthew Murphy

In the room the people come and go
Talking of the Aaron Diehl Trio.

Rand Steiger’s “Joust”, for flute, bassoon, and electronics, was written for Claire Chase and Rebekah Heller, performing here in November. / Photograph by Matthew MurphyAnd indeed there was a time
When Ives and T. S. Eliot were there
Time before Miller was christened heir
To the McMillin Theater for art fare —
(Miller will say: “How my past flows with violin!”)
A history well nourished by poet and musician,
A present rich and daring, alive with new composition —
(Miller will say: “Good thing I’m a Columbian!”)
Do you dare
Explore this universe?
This spring there is ample time
For music at Columbia ’s Miller Theatre, where present and past converse.


>> Learn more about Miller Theatre’s 25th season: www.millertheatre.com.

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