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GRSMA musicians have a wide variety of talents. We thank oboist and composer Ale Miller for creating this photo gallery which showcases his world as performer and composer.


by Alexander Miller


4:30 a.m. - My favorite time to compose. No matter what time I fall asleep, I always wake around 4 a.m. with at least one good composing idea. Right now I’m working on a commission from the U.S. Navy Band.


6:30 a.m - New York Times crossword. I have not missed one of these in fifteen years. Our poodle, JoJo, is just waking up.

8:30 a.m. - After breakfast, JoJo and Fievel follow me everywhere because they know what’s coming. When I tell them we’re going to the dog park, there is much rejoicing. I need earplugs because Fievel has the lungs of a Heldentenor.


10:30 a.m. - My reed desk. I have scores of precision tools: the all-important gouging machine which is precise to within 1/100 of a millimeter, various shaper tips, razors, sharpening stones, knives, rulers, and micrometers.


11:30 a.m. - Picking up Mary Jane’s new viola, Carmella, made for her by Matthew Noykos.


Noon - Lunch. M.J. can improvise just about any soup. Today it’s tofu with noodles, spinach,

and mushrooms in a miso broth.


1:00 p.m. - My educational ensemble, the Wünderwind Quintet. Some of my favorite people! Here we’re dressed as characters from King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub.


3:00 p.m. - Nature hike and mushroom hunting. I do this just about every day when the weather is warm.


6:00 p.m. - Scrabble with Mary Jane. She usually wins.


7:35 p.m. - Warming up for the concert. I always keep this Post-It note from M.J. in my oboe case. A few years ago she hid this in there and it has been with me ever since.

(NOTE from GRSMA: Be sure to attend the opening concerts of the 2020-21 Grand Rapids Symphony season, September 11-12, when Ale's composition Immortal Beloved receives its premiere. 

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