Elma Miller

b. August 6, 1954 Toronto
Member of the Canadian League of Composers
Member of the The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)

Elma Miller is composer, clarinetist and music typographer of Estonian origin. She received the B Mus (1977) and M Mus (1979) in from the University of Toronto. She studied composition with Walter Buczynski, John Beckwith, John Weinzweig and Lothar Klein, also electronic music with Gustav Ciamaga, William Buxton and Udo Kasemets. She improved her skills in the Stanford University computer music workshop with John Chowning and Leland Smith, and with Boguslaw Schaffer at a workshop at York University in 1980.

In 1980ies, Elma Miller lived in Hamilton where she wrote articles and reviews for the Silhouette, Hamilton Magazine and the Hamilton Spectator, was a radio producer for community radio station CFMU, organised concerts and gave private lessons.

Currently Elma Miller lives in Burlington and is active as a freelance compser and computer music engraver. From 2004–2008, she was the President of the Association of Canadian Women Composers. Miller is the consultant to the Music section of the Ontario Arts Council, since 2009.

She has written many works for clarinet, as well as orchestral, chamber and choral music. Characterized in her compositions is her sense of drama, intrigue, humour and irony. Her pallet is expressionistic and colourful using some freedom in notation to allow for spontaneity. Over the past 30 years Miller’s varied interests have converged into definite streams inspired by: astronomy, archeology, Buddhist meditation, autochthonous languages and her Estonian ancestral heritage, all of which have been featured in her music.

For her works, Miller has received Els Kaljot-Vaarman Prize (1980), the Sir Ernest MacMillan Award for orchestral composition Genesis (1981), Butterfly Garden received Honourable Mention in the R. Murray Schafer International competition for Music and Play in Poznań (1997), her essay on Elaine Keillor was the winner of the inaugural Canadian Women’s Mentorship award in Arts and Culture (1999). In 2008, her opera L’Art d’aimer for 4 soloists, chorus and orchestra selected among the five best works at the competition Oper’Actuel 08. Work In Progress of opera company Chants Libres.

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