The North Carolina School of the Arts has Schools of Dance, Design, Drama, Filmmaking and Music. As one might expect, we have our share of quirky faculty members. Among the quirkiest is Jim Miller, our trombone instructor.
Jim, besides teaching a full studio of trombonists ranging in age from high school to grad students, is Associate Principal of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Yes, the LA Phil, the one all the way over there on the left coast. There is no direct flight from Los Angeles to Winston-Salem, but Jim makes the trip faithfully every week, catching a flight out of LAX after every Sunday matinee and racing out of here every Tuesday afternoon to get back in time for the next rehearsal. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s doing something right: his trombone students are excellent.

You can read about his weekly travels/travails here.

Last night, Jim stayed a few extra hours to play a recital here. He gives one of these recitals every year, always featuring a few of his own quirky pieces – virtuosic, improvisational forays for trombone, usually with extended techniques, sometimes with electronics. They’re not really my bag, but I’m glad he does them, because I like the fact that we offer our students and our community a wide assortment of music.

This concert also featured the premiere of Attachment by Jesse Blair, one of our composition students. We had a competition this year for our students to write pieces for various combinations; the three winners are having their pieces premiered on faculty concerts. Jesse is a first-year grad student studying with Michael Rothkopf, and his solo trombone piece was our first winner of the season.

As I post this, Jim is on his way back to LA. Don’t know how he does it, but you gotta love the results.

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