Blair McMillen has established himself as one of the most versatile and sought-after pianists today. The New York Times has described him as “riveting,” “prodigiously accomplished and exciting,” and one of the piano’s “brilliant young stars.” He has performed in venues both traditional and avant-garde; from Carnegie Hall, the Moscow Conservatory, the Metropolitan Museum, Avery Fisher Hall, Caramoor, Miller Theatre, and the Library of Congress; to (le) Poisson Rouge, Galapagos, the Knitting Factory, and The Stone. Highlights from recent seasons include a performane of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Bard Music Festival, a dozen performances of John Cage’s landmark Sonatas and Interludes, and several appearances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Dedicated to new and groundbreaking projects, Blair McMillen is intensely committed to commissioning and performing the music of today. Known for his adventurous and imaginative programming, he has premiered hundreds of works, and constantly works with both established and emerging composers in commissioning new works for the piano. An avid chamber player, Mr. McMillen is pianist for the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players. He is also the co-founder and director of the Rite of Summer Music Festival on Governor’s Island, a classical-contemporary music series which had its inaugural season in Summer 2011.
Blair McMillen holds degrees from Oberlin College, the Juilliard School, and Manhattan School of Music. His first solo CD Soundings was released in 2005 to wide critical acclaim. More recent recordings include Powerhouse Pianists on Lumiere, Concert Music of Fred Hersch on Naxos, and Multiplicities: Born in ’38 on Centaur. Mr. McMillen lives in New York City and serves on the music faculty at Bard College and Conservatory.
2014/15 Program Offerings
- Pictures at an Exhibition
Granados, Cage, Liszt, Debussy, Mussorgsky
- The Faenza Codex, Here and Now
Francesco Landini, Guillaume de Machaut, Anonymous, Respighi, Frescobaldi, Jon Magnussen, John Adams, Jacopo da Bologna, Fabrizio De Rossi Re, Giacinto Scelsi
- Caffeinated! / Calmative...
Daniel Felsenfeld, Marc Mellits, John Adams, John Kaefer, Karen Tanaka, Frederic Rzewski
- The Legacy of the American Piano
Ives, Cage, Frederic Rzewski, Morton Feldman, Elliott Carter, Copland
Current & Recent Programs
- Concerto Offerings
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052
Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in A Major, BWV 1055
Piano Concerto in D Major, Hob. XVIII
Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453
Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488
Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15
Concerto No. 2 in Bb major, Op. 19
Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, “Emperor”
Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21
César Franck (1822-1890)
Symphonic Variations, M. 46
Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894)
Piano Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 70
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
Ernest Chausson (1855-1899)
Concerto (arr. Jon Magnussen)
Piano Concerto No. 1, Sz. 83
“Movements” for Piano and Orchestra
Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
Piano Concerto No. 1 in Db Major, Op. 10
Rhapsody in Blue
Concerto in F Major
Piano Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and String Orchestra, Op. 35
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102
Elliott Carter (1908-2012)
Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano
Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Piano Concerto, Op. 38
György Ligeti (1923-2006)
Lee Hyla (b. 1952)
Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra No. 2 (1991)
Carl Schimmel (b. 1975)
Concerto for Piano (2009)
- Rhythm Nation: Piano as Percussion
Of the many elements that define music, rhythm has arguably played the most crucial role in the development and furthering of piano repertoire over the past 100 years. What does it really mean when people call the piano a percussion instrument? You wil...
- Piano 20/21
This is a casual hour-long journey through some of the multifarious trends that constitute 20th- and 21st-century piano music. “Piano 20/21” is geared for pianists, composers, music-lovers, and non-musicians alike. For this program, Blair wil...
Blair McMillen has nearly 20 years of teaching experience, and has given masterclasses at numerous schools and communities around the country. He has presented masterclasses to musicians of all ages and levels, and is comfortable coaching soloists and ...
- Extended Residency
The main goal of an extended residency is to allow students to nurture a working relationship with a performing artist over the course of several days. The time period allows for interaction well beyond what is possible in a one-time workshop or master...