Celebrating David Alan Miller’s 25th year with the Albany Symphony

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — He came to Albany in 1992 – A young man with three names and one goal.

To make the orchestra great, David Alan Miller looks a bit like Harry Potter with a wand, but who was this young wizard?

“My father actually taught high school music and he brought home all the instruments, and my sister picked the cello and I picked the trombone and we all played an instrument,” Miller said.

“I ended up going to UC Berkeley where I studied general music and then to the Julliard School where I studied conducting, and I’ve just loved it,” Miller said. “It’s one of those careers where you have to know everything about everything, very global. See, I thought marriage was hard but it’s nothing compared to the beginning and end of the first movement.”

For Miller and the orchestra, it’s a marriage that’s lasted and 25 years later, he’s still passionate.

He’s still teaching and forever chasing symphonic perfection, slaving over every sharp and flat.

“I go sit at the piano for hundreds of hours basically, and learn all the notes,” Miller said.

Three years ago, he was nominated for a Grammy.

“We’re up against super famous opera stars, [and] music, but just the fact that we’re considered in the same breath with those organizations is really exciting,” Miller said.

It’s more than exciting, they won.

If you think a night at the orchestra is stuffy, you don’t know David. He dresses up as all kinds of characters during performances.

“What I would say is, if you’ve never tried it, it can actually be something that’s really engaging and interesting,” Miller said.

Also interesting? His reaction to seeing himself.

“So young,” Miller says of all those years ago.

“You know who I look like, I look like my 22-year-old son, that’s who I look like,” Miller adds. “That’s really uncanny, he’s a conductor now.”

Miller jokes that his hair is “going.”

“It’s going as my children will remind me,” he says.

What he hasn’t lost is that personal connection to the audience, and his love for the music.

“So, we’re honored to play this piece and make the first recording ever,” Miller said.

Forget Beethoven’s Fifth, this is Miller’s 25th. Might we play on for 25 more?

“Well, that’s a lovely thing to think about but I’m not sure my beloved players can bear to look at this face for another 25 years,” Miller said. “I don’t want to inflict that on them but, we’ll have to see how it evolves. It’s certainly true that I feel like I’m just getting started right now.”

“I think on any given night when we’re in good shape, that we sound just as great as any of the world’s greatest orchestras,” Miller added.

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