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Richard Miller (Tenor)

Born: April 9, 1926 - Canton, Ohio, USA
Died: May 5, 2009 - Oberlin, Ohio, USA

The American tenor and teacher, Richard Miller, began singing publicly at age 3. Before his voice changed, at age 11, he sang hundreds of times in the Canton, Ohio, area. Advised not to sing during the voice-change period, he studied piano, cello, and organ, but returned to singing in musicals at Lincoln High School in Canton. He was drafted upon graduation from high school in 1944, assigned to the 7th Armored Division tank corps and sent to the European theater in January 1945, attached to the British First Army. Stationed near Marseilles after the war, he took voice lessons at the Marseilles Conservatory. After receiving his M.Mus. degree in Musicology from the University of Michigan, he was awarded in 1952 a Fulbright Grant to study voice in Rome, Italy, at L’Accademia di Santa Cecilia. He later sang for four years as leading lyric tenor at the opera house in Zürich, Switzerland.

Richard Miller returned to the USA in 1957, and taught singing at the University of Michigan for five years, then at Oberlin Conservatory for over 40 years. During those years, until age 60, he sang hundreds of performances of oratorio and opera, including appearances with the San Francisco and San Antonio Operas and other major opera companies in Europe and America. He sang often with the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell, Pierre Boulez, and Louis Lane, including the summer promenade concerts and all five of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Lake Erie Opera seasons at Severance Hall.

Richard Miller became internationally known for his abilities as a teacher of singing; for many years he gave teaching sessions all over North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. He authored eight books and hundreds of articles on singing technique and vocal pedagogy. He founded Oberlin Conservatory's Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Center, an acoustic laboratory that measures vocal production and provides visual and auditory feedback to the singer. The vocal arts center at Oberlin was the first of its kind to be based within a music school.

Richard Miller's work as teacher and voice scientist included: Wheeler Professor of Performance at Oberlin Conservatory (1964-2004); Founder/Director of the Vocal Arts Center (OBSVAC) at Oberlin Conservatory; Collegium Medicorum Theatri member; American Academy of Teachers of Singing; Otolaryngology Adjunct Staff, Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He taught for 28 years at the Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria. He presented lectures and classes at the Paris Conservatoire Superieure, at the Marseilles National Opera School, and at Centre Polyphonique. In November 2005, he retired from the Oberlin Conservatory. After retirement, he continued to teach some master-classes. Internationally renowned for these master-classes, he taught in Austria, Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and 38 USA states. His students had successes at La Scala in Milan, Italy, and Covent Garden in London and other top stages.

In 1989 Richard Miller received an honorary doctorate from Gustavus Adolphus College. In May 1990, he was decorated Chevalier/Officier into the French Order of Arts and Letters at the hand of Madame Régine Crespin "in recognition of contributions to the art of vocalism in France and throughout the world". In 2006 Richard Miller received the Voice Education Research Awareness Award from The Voice Foundation for his contributions to the field of voice communication.

Richard Miller has written articles for over 120 professional journals. He also edited several musical anthologies and collections. His books include: National Schools of Singing (Scarecrow, 1977, reissued 1997); The Structure of Singing (Schirmer Books/Macmillan, 1986); Training Tenor Voices (Schirmer Books/Macmillan, 1993); On the Art of Singing (Oxford University Press, 1996); Singing Schumann: An Interpretive Guide for Performers (Oxford University Press, 1999); Training Soprano Voices (Oxford University Press, 2000); Solutions for Singers: Tools for Performers and Teachers (Oxford University Press, 2004); Securing Baritone, Bass-Baritone, and Bass Voices (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Source: Oberlin College Website; Wikipedia Website (October 2009)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2010)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




George Poinar


BWV 198

Links to other Sites

Richard Miller - Singer (Wikipedia)
Profile: The Founder and Director Emeritus of the Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Center at Oberlin College

Cleveland Obituaries: Richard Dean Miller, top tenor, scholar and teacher at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Cleveland Clinic (

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