NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin State University music alumnus Brian Miller has been named executive director of the Grammy Award-winning Houston Chamber Choir.
Miller, who previously served as chorus manager with the Houston Symphony, joins the Houston Chamber Choir with more than a decade of experience in the professional and educational choral realm. He earned a Master of Music in Choral Conducting in 2013 from SFA, where he studied with Dr. Tim King, and his undergraduate degree in music education is from Southwestern University.
With a background and career rooted in music education, Miller is looking forward to transitioning from “championing choir on a classroom and local level to becoming an advocate on a larger national scale.”
“The Houston Chamber Choir is a Grammy Award-winning organization of international renown, and I am excited to lead the efforts off-stage to help enable the continued success of the ensemble on-stage,” he said.
Miller credits his time at SFA and associations with peer Lumberjack choral professionals as helping him formulate the career opportunities and experiences that led him to this new appointment.
“SFA's reach in Houston and in Texas at large is quite vast,” he said. “I was able to begin my work at 6A high schools out of my graduate studies because of my connections from SFA. During my first years, there was always a large circle of choir directors, many from SFA both before and during my time there, who were willing to help and let me bounce ideas off of them. The choral world in Texas is collaborative by nature, but my SFA connections gave me immediate common ground with prominent directors in the Houston area where I was working.”
Before transitioning to fine arts management, Miller had a successful career in public education where he directed 6A Texas high school choral programs. His programs consistently earned sweepstakes awards at UIL contests and were invited to multiple invitationals in the Houston area. Miller served as a TMEA All-State section leader, held region-level organizational positions, and sang professionally with both Cantare Houston and the Houston Men’s Choir.
Miller said he maintains personal and professional relationships with SFA colleagues. “I have so many favorite memories with many people from SFA, but most of them involve SFA alumni Dr. Jake Taylor and Casey Parrish when we served as graduate assistants for the choral department,” he said. “I'll summarize them all by saying our mentor Dr. Tim King (retired director of choral activities at SFA) loved to utilize the ‘all duties as assigned’ portion of our contracts.”
Miller considers his proudest accomplishments thus far to be those that “centered around enabling my students to succeed.”
“I always kept my work to be about them, and I tried to remove myself from the picture,” he said. “It was "our" program, but "their" concerts and successes. I always wanted what I achieved to be centered on the kids and the music and not me or any sort of self-promotion.” He lists as highlights program convention appearances with Dorothy Wilson at Cinco Ranch High School; performing at the Sam Houston State University invitationals with SFA alum Cynthia Douglas and Southwestern University alum Jed Ragsdale; and serving as a Texas All-State section leader.
Looking forward to his venture with the Houston Chamber Choir, he’s excited about being part of a team that will accomplish great things for the choir and choral music, and for the City of Houston.
“I hope that in the future I can leverage my education background to help add to the already wonderful outreach programs the Houston Chamber Choir provides for students and teachers alike,” he said. “We want to be a resource for teachers no matter where they are in their careers and act as a beacon for students who want more out of their music experiences. Above all, I am seeking happiness and enjoy heading home after a day's work to see my dog, Puccini, and my wife, Melanie.”
For information about SFA School of Music’s choral conducting program, contact Dr. Michael Murphy, director of choral activities, at (936) 468-4602 or visit music.sfasu.edu.