James Patrick MillerFaculty

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

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 2020 and 2016 and the Minnesota Music Educators Association Conference in 2018. At Gustavus Miller also teaches courses conducting, music education, and a First Term Seminar entitled Art Music and Popular Culture. 

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.

In wide demand as a guest conductor, Miller has appeared throughout the United States with professional, festival, and public school ensembles, engaging with more than 65,000 high school students since 2009. Honored as the 2018 Captain Lewis J. Buckley Guest Conductor with the United States Coast Guard Band, Miller led a program featuring David Maslanka's Symphony No. 4 and Gustavus alumni Katherine Bergman's "Dream Machine."  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, Katherine Bergman, David Maslanka, Stephen Paulus, Joel Puckett, James Stephenson, Judith Weir, Dana Wilson, and Pulitzer Prize winning composers Karel Husa, Gunther Schuller, and Steven Stucky.

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, conducting 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.

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. Miller was nominated into the Kappa Theta Chapter (Minnesota) of Phi Beta Mu - "The International Bandmasters Fraternity" in 2017. 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, soprano, and fellow Gustavus colleague, Heidi Johanna Miller, their two daughters, Linnea and Ingrid, and their two rambunctious kitties, Strider and Tisbury.


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

Courses Taught

FTS-100 (FTS:American Music & Pop Cult), MUS-165 (Gustavus Wind Orchestra), MUS-391 (IS: Adv Cond/Prog Rep Sem), and MUS-393 (HonorConductingRecital)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
MUS-165 Gustavus Wind Orchestra 47 2023/SP, 2023/JN, 2022/FA, 2022/SP, 2022/JN, 2021/FA, 2021/SP, 2021/JN, 2020/SP, 2019/FA, 2019/SP, 2018/FA, 2018/SP, 2018/JN, 2017/FA, 2017/SP, 2017/JN, 2016/FA, 2016/SP, 2015/FA, 2015/SP, 2015/JN, 2014/FA, 2009/SP, and 2008/FA
MUS-387 Instrumental Conducting 10 2023/SP, 2022/SP, 2021/SP, 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, and 2009/SP
MUS-378 Music Methods 8 2022/SP, 2021/SP, 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, and 2015/SP
MUS-193 Chapel Brass 8 2016/SP, 2015/FA, 2015/SP, and 2014/FA
FTS-100 FTS:American Music & Pop Cult 5 2022/FA, 2021/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, and 2017/FA
MUS-360 Percussion 5 2021/SP, 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, and 2017/FA
MUS-260 Percussion 5 2021/SP, 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, and 2017/FA
MUS-166 Vasa Wind Orchestra 4 2009/SP and 2008/FA
MUS-342 Instr Methods-Vocal Ed 3 2021/FA, 2019/FA, and 2018/SP
MUS-338 Brass Techniques 3 2018/FA, 2016/FA, and 2014/FA
MUS-108 Art Music/Pop Culture 2 2019/JN and 2016/JN
EDU-360 Music Methods 2 2010/SP and 2009/SP
MUS-392 Advanced Conducting 1 2022/FA
MUS-115 Art Music/Pop Culture 1 2009/JN