Parse through ROCO violinist Anton Miller’s bio and immediately you get a sense, as in many of the ensemble’s musicians, that you’re dealing with quite an accomplished chap.
But, as in all ROCO players, his accomplishments are only a sliver of what makes Anton special. The rest is his charisma, his ability to connect with just about anyone and the stories he tells — within and outside of his métier.
Q: Most people think that professional musicians rehearse for months to put together a concert. Yet, most of the time, there are only days of rehearsing together before a performance. How does this happen?
A: Music is communication, essentially a language. Almost everyone can understand the language of music, but professional musicians are fluent in playing (speaking) the majority of the world’s music. Since we’re trained this way, we collaborate through the exchange of ideas for rehearsing and performing. This of course takes quite a bit of preparation before we get together, but once we meet, it all becomes artistic creation.
Q: How have you curated this Unchambered program?
A: “Harmonious Muses” is a program designed to highlight the relationships between music and the artists who create music. George Gershwin and Errollyn Wallen, the first pairing of composers, are tied together through innovative crossover between jazz, opera, R & B and classical, and their ability to continue creating new musical styles. The second pairing is between Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann, historically one of the most well documented yet thoroughly ambiguous relationships of all time.
Q: Any interesting techniques or effects you get to do on your violin?
A: I’m always interested in creating a wide range of variations in the kinds of sound I can create. This program gives me the chance to play with the traditional violin sounds and qualities while also being free to explore how to imitate the timbres of various instruments associated with jazz. Plucking, strumming, whistling and banging the string with the wood of my bow are only a few of the effects I’ll be using.
Q: Tell me a bit about your instrument?
A: My violin was made in 1780 by Nicolo Gagliano, one of the most famous violin makers of all time.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about playing with ROCO?
A: Every aspect of ROCO is amazing, especially the quality and creativity of the music and the truly wonderful people. From musicians and staff through volunteers and audience members, it’s a real family; there is nothing else out there that even comes close to the ROCO experience.