Magazine article The American Organist

OBITUARIES: Max Burdorf Miller

Magazine article The American Organist

OBITUARIES: Max Burdorf Miller

Article excerpt

Max Burdorf Miller, FAGO, ChM, 85 years old, January 5, 2013. A native of Fullerton, Calif., he earned BMus and MMus degrees in organ at the University of Redlands in 1951, studying with Leslie Spelman. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Boston, where he earned his PhD at Boston University in 1954. His dissertation was the composition of a large-scale Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, but beyond this, only three other organ compositions by him are known, all dating from the same period, and only one was ever published (a prelude on Ecce jam noctis, in Spelman's American Organ Music anthology, 1957). Miller also later studied in Vienna with Anton Heiller. For 35 years, until his retirement in 1991, he taught organ and theory at Boston University's school of fine arts, directed the master of sacred music program at the School of Theology, and conducted the Seminary Singers, taking them on annual tours. He also served as organist and choir director at the university's Marsh Chapel, and during his tenure there, he oversaw the rebuilding and enlargement of the chapel's 1950 Casavant organ in 1985, and played the rededication recital. His academic interests were wide, and included the authorship of articles on topics related to music history and performance, as well as a column called "Ask Uncle Max," which appeared for several years in The American Organist. At the time of his death, he was working on a book concerning German chorales.

During his teaching career, Miller fostered many organ students, some of whom served as his assistants at Marsh Chapel and have gone on to make a mark as distinguished church musicians and recitalists. …

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