Dr. Mallory Thompson
Mallory Thompson ‘79, ‘80 MMus is director of bands, professor of music, coordinator of the conducting program, and holds the John W. Beattie Chair of Music at Northwestern University. In 2003 she was named a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence. As the third person in the university’s history to hold the director of bands position, Dr. Thompson conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting, and administers all aspects of the band program. She has recorded five albums with the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble on the Summit Records label. Dr. Thompson began her affiliation with the Northshore Concert Band as Principal Guest Conductor in 2000, and has served as their Artistic Director since 2003.
Thompson received the Bachelor of Music Education degree and Master of Music degree in conducting from Northwestern University, where she studied conducting with John P. Paynter and trumpet with Vincent Cichowicz. She received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Donald Hunsberger.
Maintaining an active schedule as guest conductor, conducting teacher, and guest lecturer throughout the United States and Canada, Thompson has had the privilege of teaching conducting to thousands of undergraduates, graduate students, and professional educators.
She has served as a conductor or clinician at the College Band Directors National Association regional and national conventions, the Midwest Clinic, the Interlochen Arts Academy, numerous state music conventions, and the Aspen Music Festival. In addition to conducting all-state ensembles throughout the United States, she has had professional engagements as guest conductor with the United States Air Force Band, the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” the United States Army Field Band, the United States Coast Guard Band, the United States Navy Band, the West Point Band, the Dallas Wind Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Monarch Brass Ensemble, and Banda Sinfônica in Sao Pãulo, Brazil. Her professional affiliations include Pi Kappa Lambda, the College Band Directors National Association, and the American Bandmasters Association.
Dr. Thompson is especially proud of her 53 graduate conducting students and the hundreds of outstanding Symphonic Wind Ensemble members with whom she has had the joy of making music at Northwestern. She treasures her relationship with the Wildcat Marching Band and is honored to preserve and grow Northwestern’s legacy.
Dr. James Patrick Miller
James Patrick Miller is the Douglas Nimmo Endowed Professor and Conductor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, where he leads the storied collegiate ensemble on annual tours around the United States and abroad. Miller and his ensembles have toured across Sweden, Norway, Spain, France, and have been featured at conferences of the College Band Directors National Association and the Minnesota Music Educators Association in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022.
Internationally recognized for his work, Miller conducted Stephen Paulus’ Concerto for Two Trumpets and Wind Ensemble to a GRAMMY Nomination in 2015 with his University of Massachusetts Wind Ensemble, one of the only nods from the National Academy of Recording Artists for a wind band album in history. Miller has since recorded three albums with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Awakening (2019), HEROES (2021), and Drawing Inspiration (2022). Another album, Toward the Horizons (2023), is due out soon on all major streaming platforms. Miller also won the 2003 American Choral Directors Association National Conducting Prize at at the graduate level during the ACDA National Conference in New York City, becoming the youngest recipient of that prize.
Widely active as a guest conductor, Miller led the United States Coast Guard Band in 2018 as the Lewis J. Buckley featured guest conductor and has led more than 75,000 high school students in all-state festivals and workshops throughout the United States. Devoted to supporting composers and new music, performances and premieres under his baton have been noted by such composers as Katherine Bergman, Shawn Brogan Allison, Brent Michael Davids, David Maslanka, Oscar Navarro, Stephen Paulus, Joel Puckett, James Stephenson, Judith Weir, Dana Wilson, 10-time EMMY Award winner Bruce Broughton, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Karel Husa, Gunther Schuller, and Steven Stucky. Miller has also collaborated with renowned artist performers and teachers such as Frank Battisti, Keith Brion, Michael Burritt, Ayano Kataoka, Lynn Klock, and Charles Schlueter.
Miller was inducted into the Kappa Theta Chapter of Phi Beta Mu – the International Bandmasters Fraternity. He is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Tau Beta Sigma, and was elected into Pi Kappa Lambda in 2001. Miller’s professional mentors include Craig Kirchhoff and Stephen Peterson. He resides in St. Peter, MN, with his wife, conductor and soprano, Heidi Johanna Miller, their daughters Linnea and Ingrid, and their two rambunctious cats. Outside of the concert hall and classroom, Miller is most often found with his family or on the golf course — usually behind a tree or in a bunker.
Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center
For nearly the first fourteen years of its history, the Chicago Orchestra performed at the Auditorium Theatre (completed in 1889). Orchestra Hall—the long-standing dream of Theodore Thomas—was designed by CSO trustee and Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham and completed in 1904, at a cost of $750,000. The dedicatory concert, led by Thomas, was held on December 14 of that year.
Orchestra Hall has been host for a variety of performances and presentations since its dedication in 1904. During its first fifty years, Orchestra Hall was the regular home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as the Apollo Musical Club, the Mendelssohn Club of Chicago, the Chicago Business Men’s Symphony, the Commonwealth Edison Orchestra, and the Marshall Field Choral Society. Mayors Richard M. Daley, Jr. and Harold Washington both were inaugurated during ceremonies held at Orchestra Hall. In addition, the Hall has hosted countless lectures (including Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr.); movies; commencement ceremonies; billiards tournaments, religious services; suffrage and other political rallies; and visiting orchestras, choruses, and dance companies from all over the world.