James Patrick Miller


Douglas Nimmo Professor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra in Music - Instrumental and Music

James Patrick Miller is the Douglas Nimmo Professor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. One of the nation’s most storied collegiate touring wind ensembles, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra tours nationally each year, internationally every four years, and was selected to perform at the College Band Directors National Association North Central Divison Conference in 2016. At Gustavus Miller also teaches courses in conducting and music education. He first joined the Gustavus music faculty in 2008 as interim conductor of the Gustavus and Vasa Wind Orchestras, also teaching courses in conducting, music education, and a January Term course, The Crossroads of Art Music and Popular Culture. Each summer Miller serves on the choral conducting faculty of the Performing Arts Institute at the Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA, an international training institute for advanced high school artist musicians.   

On September 1st, 2014 Miller released the album "Fantastique: Premieres for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble" on the MSR Classics label featuring trumpet virtuoso Eric Berlin and the UMass Wind Ensemble. About the disc, critic Henry Fogel wrote the following in FANFARE Magazine, "... All of the performances here are extremely engaged and persuasive ... But more impressive is the energy, imagination and commitment of each of the performances ... These are all performances that convey conviction and belief in the music." Since its publication, this disc has received international recognition for its recording of Stephen Paulus' Concerto for Two Trumpets and Band. The concerto recording was nominated for a 2015 GRAMMY Award in the category of Best Contemporary Classical Composition, one of the only wind band recordings in history to receive a nod from the National Academy of Recording Artists.

From 2009-2014 Miller was Assistant Professor and Director of Wind Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, where he led the wind ensemble, symphony band, summer conducting institute, and taught graduate and undergraduate conducting. Under Miller’s leadership the UMass wind bands twice appeared at the College Band Directors National Association Eastern Division Conference and performed with such noted artists as Frank Battisti, Keith Brion, Michael Burritt, Ayano Kataoka, Lynn Klock, and Charles Schlueter. From 2012-2014 Professor Miller served as the conducting pedagogue for the United States Coast Guard Band’s Conductor Mentor program. He also led the US Coast Guard Band Chamber Players in concert in 2014. Miller’s other former positions include Assistant Director of Wind Ensembles and Conductor of the Chorale at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY (2002-2006), Co-Artistic Director of the Sapphire Chamber Consort in Minneapolis (2006-2009) and teaching assistant positions at Ithaca College and the University of Minnesota.

Very active as a clinician and guest conductor, Miller has appeared throughout the United States with public school and festival ensembles, engaging with more than 30,000 high school students since 2009. In 2003 he received national recognition by winning the American Choral Directors Association National Conducting Prize at the graduate level. Ten years later Miller was recognized nationally again, this time for his research on Karel Husa’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Concert Band with an invitation to present his work at the National Conference of the College Band Directors National Association in Greensboro, NC. A strong advocate for composers, Dr. Miller has been involved in the commissioning of more than 30 works for a wide variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles. Performances under his leadership have been noted by such composers as Shawn Brogan Allison, Stephen Paulus, Joel Puckett, James Stephenson, Judith Weir, Dana Wilson, and Pulitzer Prize winning composers Karel Husa, Gunther Schuller, and Steven Stucky.

Originally from Winona, MN, Dr. Miller holds the DMA in conducting from the University of Minnesota where he was named a College of Liberal Arts and School of Music Graduate Research Fellow, the MM degree in conducting from Ithaca College, and a BM in music education magna cum laude from St. Olaf College. Professor Miller has been affiliated professionally with the College Band Directors National Association, NAfME/MENC, Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association, the American Choral Directors Association, and the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles. He was inducted as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi at UMass Amherst and elected into Pi Kappa Lambda in 2001. Miller resides in St. Peter, MN, with his wife, conductor and soprano Heidi Johanna Miller, their two daughters, Linnea and Ingrid, and their two rambunctious kitties, Gandalf and Tisbury.


D.M.A., Conducting, University of Minnesota; M.M., Conducting, Ithaca College; B.M.Ed., St. Olaf College

Courses Taught


MUS-165 (Gustavus Wind Orchestra) and MUS-193 (Chapel Brass)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
MUS-165Gustavus Wind Orchestra102015/SP, 2015/JN, 2014/FA, 2009/SP, and 2008/FA
MUS-193Chapel Brass42015/SP and 2014/FA
MUS-166Vasa Wind Orchestra42009/SP and 2008/FA
MUS-387Instrumental Conducting22015/SP and 2009/SP
EDU-360Music Methods22010/SP and 2009/SP
MUS-378Classroom Music Methods K-1212015/SP
MUS-338Brass Techniques12014/FA
MUS-115Art Music/Pop Culture12009/JN