“Miller Theatre, under its executive director, Melissa Smey, continues to be a hotbed of bold programming and contemporary music.”
— THE NEW YORK TIMES
Opening Night (9/26, 9/28):
NEW YORK PREMIERE OF PROVING UP
Launching Miller Theatre's new Chamber Opera Commissioning Initiative
After triumphing in Omaha and Washington D.C., composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek's newest opera comes to NYC. This haunting tale of a family’s pursuit of the American Dream will transform the Miller stage into post-Civil War Nebraska in a new production by Opera Omaha.
THE ICONIC COMPOSER PORTRAITS SERIES
Miller's signature series since 1999
Each composer to attend their Portrait
KATE SOPER: Ipsa Dixit, the composer/s inger's tour-de-force "philosophy-opera," blends Greek theater and screwball comedy (10/27)
DU YUN: ICE performs a range of adventurous chamber music by the 2017 Pulitzer winner and social activist (11/15)
WANG LU: Yarn/Wire and ICE champion this composer's lyrical and powerful works; includes a world premiere commission (2/21)
JOHN ZORN: Dream team of new music s uperstars perform recent chamber works (3/7)
TYSHAWN SOREY: JACK and ICE perform new works by the visionary 2017 MacArthur Fellow, who guests as drummer and conductor (3/28)
DAVID T. LITTLE: Third Coast Percussion and ACME perform Little's socially engaged music (4/18)
SIGNATURE KEYS, A NEW KEYBOARD SERIES
THE WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER, PAIRED:
Harpsichord star MAHAN ESFAHANI pairs Bach’s treasured Well-Tempered Clavier with contemporary works by Berio, Perich, and a world premiere commission by George Lewis (11/7, 11/8)
AN EVENING WITH SIMONE DINNERSTEIN:
The celebrated pianist brings her signature expressive elegance to works by Schumann, Satie, Couperin, and Glass (12/8)
MELISSA ALDANA QUARTET:
The gifted young saxophonist was the first female to win the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition (11/17)
RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA INDO-PAK COALITION:
Indo-jazz fusion trio features percussionist Dan Weiss and guitarist Rez Abbasi (2/9)
LINDA MAY HAN OH QUINTET:
The spellbinding bassist displays her commanding presence as a bandleader (3/2)
ALFREDO RODRÍGUEZ TRIO:
The dazzling young Cuban pianist is back by popular demand (4/6)
CAPPELLA PRATENSIS (Miller debut ): The Josquin Imitation Game (11/10)
TALLIS SCHOLARS: A Renaissance Christmas, featuring a Nico Muhly world premiere commissioned by Miller Theatre (12/1)
ORLANDO CONSORT: Love's Command – Sacred Poetry & Music (1/26)
NEW YORK POLYPHONY: Music From Over the Alps (2/16)
CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS RETURNS
Director/designer and puppet master Lake Simons's ingenious production celebrates Saint-Saëns and Ogden Nash's “feathers, fur, and fins” (12/15)
POP-UP CONCERTS BRING THE AUDIENCE ONSTAGE
"Close to the music" takes on new meaning with year seven of this spontaneous, free series of hour-long 6PM concerts
7th ANNUAL MORNINGSIDE LIGHTS: FLIGHT
Concept and direction by Processional Arts Workshop
Miller throws open the doors again this fall, inviting all to join lantern-making workshops to create an illuminated processional flock of birds that will fill the night sky over Morningside Heights (9/4-9/8)
Miller Theatre is known for the consistency and integrity of its curating. The venue has been heralded by The New York Times for its “transformative impact on musical culture in New York City” and exerting an “oversize influence on tastes and trends." Many credit Miller Theatre with pioneering the kind of programming that bigger organizations now emulate.
Since becoming Executive Director in 2009, Melissa Smey has continued Miller Theatre's tradition of adventurous programming, while steering Miller into new territory—welcoming a stylistically eclectic mix of composers and ensembles; expanding Miller's leadership in community engagement (Pop-Up Concerts, Morningside Lights, family programs like Carnival of the Animals, and commissioning public murals in Miller's lobby); and recalibrating the gender imbalance in classical music byshowcasing the work of female composers, a development hailed by The New Yorker and The New York Times.
"For 30 years, Miller Theatre has been a nexus of creativity and experimentation," states Smey. "As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we honor the vibrant history of the arts at Columbia University—including premiere performances of landmark works by Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, and Martha Graham—and embrace our commitment to the bold, adventurous work that has made Miller Theatre a vital contributor to the creative community."
Smey continues: "We open the 2018-19 season with the highly anticipated New York premiere of the opera Proving Up by the brilliant team of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, in a new production by Opera Omaha. I am honored to have played a role in this project, and deeply grateful to co-commissioners Washington National Opera and Opera Omaha for inviting us to take part. Our flagship Composer Portraits feature the work of six visionary artists, including world premiere commissions from Wang Lu and Tyshawn Sorey. Our dedication to develop and produce new work doesn’t stop here: the Early Music series will feature a Miller-commissioned world premiere by Nico Muhly, written for the Tallis Scholars. Our artist-focused collaborations continue, with a new keyboard series developed with Mahan Esfahani and Simone Dinnerstein, and we welcome back familiar friends and introduce two stellar bandleaders for their Miller debuts—Melissa Aldana and Linda May Han Oh—in our Jazz series. Miller’s charming and whimsical puppet-theater production of Carnival of the Animals returns, with an ensemble of new music all-stars performing Saint-Saëns’ treasured score."
It is striking that each of these contrasting series have such strong, continuing support, perhaps because people like a challenge and trust Miller Theatre to deliver concerts that are always intriguing. Looking ahead, Melissa Smey says, with characteristic enthusiasm: "This is an incredible new season, and I can’t wait for audiences to join us."
"Refreshingly creative and smart."
"Immersive, cutting-edge work that sets the bar high."
— THE NEW YORKER
“Miller Theatre remains as vital as ever. Under the auspices of Melissa Smey, the venue consistently features programming that’s forward-thinking and fresh.”
— TIME OUT NEW YORK
“Miller Theatre continues to be the leading destination for new music and classics of modernism.”
— NEW YORK CLASSICAL REVIEW
"One of the city’s essential destinations for unusual programming, an unlikely concoction of contemporary music, early music, and jazz."
— MUSICAL AMERICA