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Jesse Mills

Jesse Mills
Chamber Music - Department Chair; Strings – Violin; Horszowski Trio

Two-time Grammy nominated violinist Jesse Mills enjoys performing music of many genres, from classical to contemporary, as well as composed and improvised music of his own invention.

In 2004, Mills made his concerto debut with the Chicago’s Ravinia Festival Orchestra. He has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada, including concerts at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Boston’s Gardener Museum, and the Marlboro Music Festival. He has also appeared at prestigious venues in Europe, such as the Barbican Centre of London, La Cité de la Musique in Paris, Amsterdam’s Royal Carré Theatre, Teatro Arcimboldi in Milan, and the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels.

Mills is highly regarded as a champion of contemporary music, a renowned improvisational artist, as well as a composer. He earned a Grammy nomination for his work on a CD of Arnold Schoenberg’s music, released by NAXOS in 2005. He can also be heard on the Koch, Centaur, Tzadik, Max Jazz, and Verve labels for various compositions of Webern, Schoenberg, Zorn, Wuorinen, and others. As a member of the FLUX Quartet from 2001-2003, Mills performed music composed during the last 50 years (including the famous six-hour-long String Quartet No. 2 by Morton Feldman), in addition to frequent world premieres.

Mills is a founding member of the Horszowski Trio, as well as Duo Prism, a violin-piano duo with Rieko Aizawa, which earned first prize at the Zinetti International Competition in Italy in 2006. With Ms. Aizawa, Mills became co-artistic director of the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado in 2010.

As a composer and arranger, Mills has been commissioned by venues including Columbia University’s Miller Theater and the Chamber Music Northwest festival in Portland, OR.

Mills is a graduate of the Juilliard School where he was a student of Dorothy DeLay, Robert Mann, and Itzhak Perlman.

Teaching Philosophy

“As a teacher, I exact the highest standards while always aiming to encourage my students. The violin repertoire is extensive, and I feel it is my responsibility to introduce students to a wide range of pieces, always aiming to cover the important works. Based on my own extensive performing experience, I can steer students to the repertoire that will help them best overcome their obstacles.

All violinists need a pair of ears besides their own, to give them objective advice and to increase and expand what they hear when listening to themselves.  Some may need to focus on some technical aspects of playing (shifting, bow control, intonation, vibrato, sound production); others, the more musical (phrasing, refining the articulation in a piece, or expanding the color palette). I always think about the whole person I am teaching; I understand that we all need to feel positive and inspired in order to make the most improvement.”