Conductor seeks musicians for new chamber orchestra |

Conductor seeks musicians for new chamber orchestra

Conductor and music educator Don Miller wants to start a local chamber orchestra. Auditions will be held in September.
Courrtesy of Don Miller

Auditions for Orchestra Esperanza are scheduled to be held from 7-8:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 and Sept. 12, at the Utah Conservatory, 4593 Silver Springs Drive. For information about Orchestra Esperanza and auditions, call 435-649-6292 or email

Don Miller, who has 25 years of music education and conducting experience under his cummerbund, wants to start a chamber orchestra in Park City.

The group, which will be composed of 16 to 24 musicians, will be known as Orchestra Esperanza, and is set to play six concerts from October to May.

“The mission is to present high-level music in an accessible area and connect with the community,” said Miller, who holds a doctorate in conducting from the University of Iowa. “I want the orchestra to be a mobile group, and the places we are looking to perform will be smaller places like churches, coffee shops and libraries. I want the audience to see rosin flying off the bows. I want to see people react to the movement of the musicians.”

Auditions are scheduled to be held from 7-8:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 and Sept. 12, at the Utah Conservatory, 4593 Silver Springs Drive. Musicians will be required to perform scales and one prepared piece, according to Miller. There is a tuition charge of $30 for musicians who pass the audition.

With the support of the arts — I thought this would be a great place to start this kind of group…”Don Miller,conductor andmusic educator

“The money will help with some startup costs including purchasing music and venue rentals,” Miller said. “My plan is to eliminate the charge after we get some sponsorships and strong ticket sales.”

Rehearsals will be held Wednesday evenings, and the full schedule will be announced during auditions. For information, calle 435-649-6292 or email

Miller, who has taught and performed in Iowa, Kansas and Texas feels Park City is a good place to start an orchestra.

“With Park City’s size and resources — especially with the support of the arts — I thought this would be a great place to start this kind of group,” he said.

Miller, who also has a master’s degree in trumpet performance from Wichita State University, has experience with smaller chamber orchestras from his work as the director of the Peaceful Bend Wine Cellar Concerts — a chamber music festival, which he founded — in rural Steelville, Missouri. The festival is named after a local winery.

Since the event took place in the summer, some people told Miller he needed play more popular works, which is the trend for summer festivals.

“I decided not to do that because I knew there were people who would be interested in hearing challenging music in unique settings,” he said.

One of the settings was the winery’s cellar.

“We performed an intimate concert for 100 people, and I saw how the audience responded to what they were seeing as well as what they were hearing,” he said.

The show’s centerpiece was Gideon Klein’s Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello.

“He wrote the work while he was in a concentration camp during World War II,” Miller said. “He finished it five days before he was killed.”

The audience gave the performance a standing ovation.

“One of the things that I found there was that people had a desire to explore musical minds,” he said.

Reflecting back on that experience, Miller wants Orchestra Esperanza to perform some obscure works mixed in with new chamber compositions.

“I feel that music needs to be performed because, one, it’s time, and two, the more we play the more chance the music will get established,” he said. “We also want to play music from 200 to 300 years ago that was especially written and designed for the size of the ensemble. I also would like to perform commissioned works.”

In addition, Miller wants to collaborate with local businesses.

“Like what I did in Missouri, I would love to work with a local restaurant, bookstore or art gallery and present performances that will hopefully get some people into the businesses,” he said.

Miller also said his chamber orchestra would not clash with the Park City Chamber Society’s Beethoven Festival.

“Our mission is different from theirs, because we’re a chamber orchestra and not a festival,” he said. “I would, however, love to have the opportunity to work with them.”

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