Alexander Elliott Miller is a composer, guitarist and educator based in Southern California. His compositions have been described as “deceptively laid back in an LA way…inventive…unconventional (LA Times), and “wild…unearthly…lyrical…a voice worth listening to” (San Francisco Classical Voice).
As an electric guitarist, Miller has frequently performed his own compositions, especially TO….OBLIVION: Historic Landmarks Around Los Angeles, an album released in the fall of 2018. The work is a collection of pieces inspired by six lost landmarks in Los Angeles, each of some social significance, scored for solo electric guitar, sound effects and video. The album received profiles in the LAist and Long Beach Press Telegram, and a 2019 performance at Boston Court Pasadena was listed in the LA Times “8 Best Things to do this Weekend.” Presently, he is developing a new large project for electric guitar and synthesizers called Antibodypolitic.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Miller was preparing to launch a new guitar & percussion duo with Ben Phelps. The duo, Miller || Phelps has commissioned new works from composers Sarah Gibson, Hitomi Oba and Ian Dicke, and as well as written their own original works, planning debut performances at venues including Los Angeles' Tuesdays@Monk Space and San Francisco's Center for New Music. Miller and Phelps previously Co-Directed the What’s Next? Ensemble, a new music collective in Los Angeles called “ready for any mainstage keen enough to know what’s what,” (LA Times). The group presented an all JacobTV concert in collaboration with the composer, performed with the Long Beach Opera and Grammy nominee Vicki Ray, and ran an annual series called the Los Angeles Composers Project, which presented the music of 60 composers over a five year run.
Miller’s compositions for chamber ensembles, voice and electronics have been performed or commissioned by contemporary music ensembles including HOCKET, Panic Duo, Duo Montagnard, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Boston New Music Initiative, Earplay New Chamber Music and the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, as well as by Grammy nominated artists including Vicki Ray and Tony Arnold. Another Grammy-nominee, pianist Aron Kallay, commissioned and recorded Miller's The Blur of Time and Memory for his album, Beyond 12, Volume 2, an album of microtonal digital piano music on Microfest Records in 2021. In 2017, pianist Vincent Craig performed Miller’s composition Actions & Resonances at Carnegie Hall. Miller has received honors including a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, Earplay Donald Aird Composers Award, a Definiens C3 Commission and the CAPMT Commissioned Composer Award.
Miller has been particularly active in California, where his compositions have been presented on many new music series and venues including San Francisco’s Center for New Music, ODC Theatre and Hot Air Festival, and Los Angeles’ Piano Spheres, Tuesdays@Monk Space, Hear Now Festival, Synchromy, People Inside Electronics, Carlsbad Music Festival, Microfest, Sound & Fury Concerts, Music@Mimoda and the LA Conservancy. In 2015, the LA-based People Inside Electronics series commissioned him to write for an instrument created by London based inventor, Andrew McPherson, called the Magnetic Resonator Piano. The work, a tribute to the Back to the Future movies called "88 MPH," was subsequently performed at London’s Mile End Art Pavilion by pianist Kate Ryder, and featured in an article in Keyboard Concepts by Harvard Professor Emily Dolan.
As a teacher, Miller is on the faculty of California State University Long Beach, where he teaches all levels of music theory, composition, musicianship and Schenkerian Analysis at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music. During the Spring of 2017, he served as Acting Graduate Advisor. He also works at Chapman University where he initiated and developed a new Composition and Songwriting course for non-music majors, which has subsequently become a requirement for music technology minors. He has given masterclasses in Composition at the Music Association of California Community Colleges as well as many of the California Community Colleges and been a frequent adjudicator for guitar and composition contests run by organizations such as CAPMT, MTNA and CSULA’s Gohar & Ovanes Adriassian Classical Guitar Competition.
Miller holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from the University of Southern California, a Master of Music in Composition from the Eastman School of Music, and Bachelor of Music degrees in both Composition and Guitar Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In his free time, he enjoys basketball, bike riding, climbing, cooking, going to concerts in LA and playing guitar.
"Deceptively laid back...inventive...unconventional."
- Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
"Wild...unearthly...lyrical...a voice worth listening to."
- Jerry Kuderna, San Francisco Classical Voice
"...illustrates the evocative power and emotional punch that can result when a composer goes all in..."
- Paul Muller, Sequenza21
"...a plush and tightly constructed piece that is filled with colorful imagery...shimmered like moonlight on water."
- Aaron Keebaugh, Boston Classical Review
"Beautiful...quirky...ingeniously wrought gestures, as much timbral as melodic....it's the kind of music that -- now euphonious/now jarring, now calm/now flighty -- is exciting to live in."
- Damjan Rakonjac, The Artificialist
San Francisco Classical Voice: Catching Up With HOCKET, 9-25-20
San Francisco Classical Voice: What 2020 Sounds Like, in 45-Second Bits, 7-14-20
Los Angeles Times: 8 Best Things To Do In LA, 10-24-19
LAist: 36 Awesome Events in Southern California This Weekend, 10-24-19
Long Beach Press Telegram: This guitarist wants you to hear the history of Anaheim, Long Beach and Los Angeles 11-3-18
LAist: This Electric Guitar Album Puts You Inside 6 LA-Area Landmarks That Are Long Gone, 10-17-18
New Classic LA: Track Premiere: Alexander Elliott Miller's "Zanja Madre" from To....Oblivion, 10-9-18
Los Angeles Times: Want to Hear the Real La La Land? Lend an ear to the L.A. Composers of the Hear Now Festival, 5-1-17
New Classic LA: Synchromy + HOCKET present Crusoe at LACC, 11-18-16
New Classic LA: Microtonal Music, New and Old, Captures Tuesdays@MonkSpace Listeners, 7-9-16
Sequenza 21: Microfest Concert at Monk Space, 7-6-16
New Classic LA: Review: Aron Kallay: Beyond 12: Volume II, 11-15-15
Boston Classical Review: Music of Young Composers Sparks at BNMI Wide-Ranging Program, 11-16-14
Los Angeles Times: Review: What's Next? Ensemble Deftly Explores Space, Time & Place, 8-26-13
San Francisco Classical Voice: Earplay Plays to Spellbind, 5-20-13
Historic Landmarks Around Los Angeles
Single release, for violin, piano & electronics