Chapel Hill Philharmonia

Chapel Hill Philharmonia Premieres Millikan Symphony

CHAPEL HILL, NC — Posted February 27, 2015

On Friday, March 20, 2015 the Chapel Hill Philharmonia will premiere composer Ann Millikan’s "Millikan Symphony", written in honor of her distinguished brother, Dr. Robert Millikan. A Renaissance man, Professor Millikan was a noted cancer researcher, violinist, and rowing coach. He held degrees in epidemiology, veterinary medicine, and a fellowship in molecular biology. The four movements of the new symphony highlight his work in each area. Conductor Donald Oehler will also lead the orchestra in Vaughan Williams “The Lark Ascending”, with gifted violinist Jennifer Curtis. Curtis is a multi-talented performer who has played across continents as well as in Carnegie Hall. Her solo playing will also be featured in the symphony.

The program begins at 7:00pm in Hill Hall Auditorium on the UNC-CH campus. Composer Millikan, winner of numerous awards and known for expressive and colorful music, will give a pre-concert talk, describing her careful collaboration with UNC, NC State, and the Chapel Hill community in order to portray musically her brother’s passions. The concert starts at 8:00pm. A reception hosted by the Millikan family will follow. Admission is free.

More Information on the Concert

About the Composer

Ann Millikan's music has been described as "tonally challenging yet emotionally involving" (Joseph Woodard, LA Times), "packed with propellant polyrhythmic textures" (New Sounds, WNYC), and "characterized by high energy and a quirky inventiveness that defies easy categorization...Her scoring is clean and transparent and her felicities of orchestration are among the most attractive elements in her work." (Stephen Eddins, All Music).

Millikan composes concert music for orchestra, chamber ensembles and choir, opera, experimental and interdisciplinary projects involving installation, theatre and dance. Rhythmic vitality is a powerful force in her music, stemming from previous years playing jazz, African and Brazilian music. Her music is expressive and colorful, moving freely between atonal and tonal/modal languages depending upon the overall desired effect. She creates rich orchestral textures that are characterized by layering, rhythmic juxtaposition, and complex counterpoint.

Millikan received her MFA in Composition from the California Institute of the Arts where her mentors were Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Stephen L. Mosko, and her BA in Music–Jazz (piano, voice and composition) from San Jose State University. She has studied West African percussion from Senegal and Ghana, and many years of classical voice.

Her works have been performed in Italy, Brazil and throughout the United States by Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino, Orchestra Sinfonica della Provincia di Bari, Emanuele Arciuli, ABSTRAI Ensemble, California EAR Unit, Zeitgeist, Mankato Symphony Orchestra, Citywinds, New Century Players, Oregon Repertory Singers, Grace Cathedral Men's Choir, and Joan La Barbara, among others. Her music is featured on radio broadcasts nationally, internationally, and over the internet. Her awards include a 2011 MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, 2010 McKnight Composer Fellowship, California Arts Council, American Music Center, ASCAP, American Composers Forum, Meet The Composer, Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, Jerome Foundation, Zellerbach Family Fund, Berkeley Civic Arts Program, and Waging Peace Through Singing (Highest Honors).

Millikan's latest album of orchestral works, "Ballad Nocturne" featuring Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra and pianist Emanuele Arciuli, and her debut album, "The Music of Ann Millikan Featuring the California EAR Unit" are both available on Innova Recordings. Ann Millikan is a freelance composer based in Saint Paul, MN.

About the Soloist

Violinist Jennifer Curtis navigates with personality and truth in every piece she performs. Her second solo concert in Carnegie Hall was described by the New York Times as "one of the gutsiest and most individual recital programs," and celebrated her as "an artist of keen intelligence and taste, well worth watching out for."

As a violinist, Jennifer is driven by passion and curiosity, eliminating boundaries of musical genres and traversing the globe with musical diplomacy. Winner of Astral Artists Milka/Astral grand prize for violin and Artists International presentations, Jennifer is also an improviser, composer, multi-instrumentalist, member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and educator.

Recent activities include solo performances with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Venezuela, The Knights Chamber Orchestra, featured artist at the Brasov International Festival in Romania in honor of George Enescu, featured violinist/composer and percussionist for El Festival de las Artes Esénias de Lima, Peru, appearances at the Mostly Mozart Festival, International Brahms Festival, Ecstatic Festival, Festival musique de chambre a Giverny, Darmstadt Festival, Iceland Airwaves Festival, Wein Modern Festival for Contemporary music and many more. A lover of Latin American music, Jennifer has had many musical expeditions in 6 countries south of Mexico. She founded the group Tres Americas Ensemble, toured with her orignal works and concerti of Mozart, collaborated and studied with Musical Shaman of the Amazon and the Andes, improvised for live radio from the interior of the jungle, taught in conservatories and public schools, and performed as violinist, mandolinist, vocalist and percussionist at many clubs and world music festivals.

Upcoming and recent projects include solo and chamber music performances with John Adams at the library of congress, Carnegie Hall performance of La Pasíon by Osvaldo Golijov, a Cornell University sponsored commission for a new composition, concertmaster of East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) US tour, soloist with The Knights Chamber Orchestra, a solo improvisation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a solo CD featuring never before recorded works by George Enescu and a masterclass titled "An approach to classical music through harmony and improvisation”, which Jennifer will be offering at Oberlin Conservatory. Jennifer holds degrees from Mills College and The Juilliard School and plays on a 1777 Vincenzo Panormo violin. She teaches chamber music at the University of Pennsylvania and offers her masterclass worldwide.

About the Honoree

Dr. Robert Millikan, Barbara Sorenson Hulka Distinguished Professor of Cancer Epidemiology, died Sunday, October 7, 2012. He was 55. A member of the epidemiology faculty at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1993, Dr. Millikan’s research in cancer epidemiology brought hope for better understanding and treatment of breast cancer, particularly for young African-American women who disproportionately die from the disease.

“Dr. Millikan had a major impact on the field of cancer and molecular epidemiology,” said Andy Olshan, PhD, professor and chair of the epidemiology department and UNC Lineberger’s associate director of population sciences. “His innovations led the field and created opportunities for countless epidemiology and other public health students. The department has lost not only a great scientist and teacher but a wonderful friend and colleague.”

“Dr. Millikan and his colleagues conducted three waves of this country’s groundbreaking longitudinal study of breast cancer in African-American and Caucasian women,” said Shelley Earp, MD, director of UNC Lineberger. “Through the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS), he sought to understand the complex reasons for poor breast cancer outcomes in African- American women. His seminal findings, published in 100 papers, have changed the face of breast cancer disparities research. The CBCS Phase III, which Dr. Millikan set in motion, will continue to add to our knowledge over the next decade, but the field has lost a brilliant and passionate advocate for women with breast cancer.”

“Dr. Millikan had remarkable breadth in his approach to disease and the health of the public,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor at the public health school. “His encyclopedic knowledge of epidemiology, breast cancer and melanoma were fully matched by his compassion for and understanding of all aspects of health disparities. Bob had great curiosity about people and a gift for listening and going where he saw unmet need, whether it was disentangling the biology and epidemiology of disparities, teaching breast cancer advocates about epidemiology or coaching the UNC men’s crew team. The nation has lost a brilliant, humane public health leader.”

Dr. Millikan’s UNC Breast Cancer SPORE research combined traditional epidemiological measures of disease predisposition with molecular markers aimed at characterizing genetic susceptibility to cancers. He was also part of an international collaboration, called the Genes, Environment and Melanoma Study, to examine causes of malignant melanoma. That work has added to the understanding of molecular causation of the disease, which is increasing in incidence. He served for more than 15 years as a faculty member for the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD, teaching breast cancer advocates about the science of breast cancer epidemiology and genomics.

Dr. Millikan earned undergraduate and doctoral degrees (1982, 1984) in veterinary medicine from University of California at Davis and a Master of Public Health (1991) and Doctor of Philosophy (1993) in epidemiology from University of California at Los Angeles. He was a postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and completed internship in medicine and surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Millikan was director of the integrative health sciences facility core at the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility. He held an adjunct professorship in the College of Veterinary medicine at North Carolina State University. He spent the 2005-2006 academic year at University College Dublin (Ireland) as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2008, the public health school awarded him the Hulka Distinguished Professorship.


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