Blair McMillen has established himself as one of the most versatile and sought-after young pianists today. He has received critical acclaim for his performances throughout the United States and abroad. The New York Times has called his playing "lustrous," "riveting," and "brilliant.... prodigiously accomplished and exciting."
Mr. McMillen has made concerto appearances at Lincoln Center, was chosen soloist on a tour of Japan with the Juilliard Orchestra, and has played for former President Bill Clinton. Recent performance venues include the Moscow Conservatory, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Concerten Tot en Met (Amsterdam), Harvard University, CalArts, Miller Theatre, Caramoor, Merkin Hall, the Minsk (Belarus) Conservatory, Casals Hall (Tokyo), and Avery Fisher Hall. His solo playing has been broadcast on "CBS-Sunday Morning," NPR, Fuji-TV (Japan), WQXR, and WNYC. Festival appearances include the Moscow Forum, Aspen, Music Academy of the West, Focus!, Cape and Islands, Taos, St. Petersburg's "Sound Ways," Walden, Green Lake, and MoMA's Summergarden.
Known for his imaginative and daring programming, Mr. McMillen's repertoire spans from medieval keyboard manuscripts to today's up-and-coming younger generation of composers. Recent solo highlights include concerto appearances with American Ballet Theatre and a solo recital on Miller Theatre's 15th-anniversary "Piano Revolution" series, where he juxtaposed music of Luciano Berio and Giacinto Scelsi to rave critical reviews. Other recent solo performances include a recital featuring music from the Codex Faenza (one of the earliest-surviving keyboard manuscripts in the world, penned in the early 15th century), the New York premiere of Lee Hyla's "Basic Training," and the U.S. premiere of Frederic Rzewski's "Dust" at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton NJ. During the 2005-06 season, Mr. McMillen makes his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist under the baton of David Robertson.
As collaborator, Mr. McMillen has performed at the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, with tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, soprano Lucy Shelton, clarinetist David Krakauer, the New York Woodwind Quintet, and with members of the Brentano, American, and Flux String Quartets. He has appeared with the Eos Orchestra, the Locrian Chamber Players, the Amelia Piano Trio and "East Meets West," the Jose Limon Dance Company, Prism Players, and the New Juilliard Ensemble, among others.
Dedicated to new and groundbreaking projects, Blair McMillen is committed to the performance of the music of today. He is a founding member of the New York-based composer/performer collective counter)induction, which recently received a CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and was a featured ensemble at the 2004 MATA Festival in New York City. In 2003 he was named pianist for the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players, a leader in contemporary chamber music for three decades. In addition to its New York concert season and residency at Bard College, Da Capo has toured Russia several times since 2003. Mr. McMillen also frequently performs with the New York-based downtown ensemble Avian Orchestra.
He has worked closely with composers John Harbison, George Crumb, Lee Hyla, Conrad Cummings, Annie Gosfield, Adam Silverman, George Perle, Bernard Rands, Thomas Ades, and Ned Rorem. Mr. McMillen commissioned and gave the New York premiere of Jon Magnussen's piano piece Toccare! with the ABT Studio Company at Hunter College's Kaye Playhouse. He was a member of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble for three summers, and gave the premieres of numerous works with this ensemble.
A graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Mr. McMillen holds degrees from Oberlin College and the Juilliard School. While at Juilliard, he won the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition and received the Sony ES Career Grant for Musical Excellence, a career-advancement award given to outstanding Juilliard musicians. Blair McMillen was the only unanimously-chosen winner in the forty-year history of the National Young Artists Competition, and was a winner of the Time-Warner Award at the Aspen Music Festival in 1998.
Mr. McMillen's teachers have included Jerome Lowenthal, Byron Janis, Joseph Kalichstein, and Robert McDonald. His solo CD "Soundings," featuring the works of Liszt, Scriabin, Debussy, Copland, and Bolcom, was released in 2004. Blair McMillen has recorded for Koch International, CRI, Midnight Productions, Connoisseur Society, Albany, and BMG/Catalyst.