Sarah wearing a green and blue shirt sitting outside in front of plants and trees

Sarah Miller

Piano, Composition, Theory, Songwriting

Sarah Miller has been an instructor of composition, theory, and piano at MacPhail since 1996, and our composition coordinator since 2001.

Her teaching starts by connecting with her students through their mutual love of music. From that base, she helps each student create an individual plan, setting realistic goals that they are eager to pursue.

Sarah has received numerous grants and commissions. Her most recent commission was from MacPhail and the resulting piece, “Clouds” premiered at a faculty recital in February 2020. It was performed by Nina Olsen, Clarinet, Chi-Chi Bestman, viola with Sarah at the piano. Her most recent State Arts Board Grant featured pieces inspired by works of art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Seven of the pieces are available at the MIA website, Plays Well with Art: Compositions by Sarah Miller –– Minneapolis Institute of Art ( Those pieces plus several more were performed at MIA in April, 2022. This is the third State Arts Board Grant that Dr. Miller has received.

Sarah developed the composition program at MacPhail which features two recitals a year and a summer camp. Her students have won many prizes in various composition contests including the Junior Composers Contest, the Minnesota Music Teachers Association Composition Contest, the Sinfonia Orchestra Composition Contest and the Eric Stokes Song Contest. She has taught composition to classes through residencies in public schools as well as arranging to GTCYS students. She is also involved with the National Federation of Music Club’s Composers Institute.

She holds a PhD in Music Composition as well as a Master’s of Music in Piano Performance, a Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Performance, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Humanities, all from Michigan State University.

Favorite non-musical hobby: I enjoy a variety of fiber arts including knitting, weaving, cross stitch and hardanger.

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