Kenneth G. Mills studied for 25 years to become a classical concert pianist; among his teachers were Mona Bates, Victor Babin, and Nadia Reisenberg. He made his debut in Toronto in 1952 and in New York City in 1961. Though he chose to end his concert career in 1963, he continued teaching piano and adjudicating young musicians for another 12 years before turning to metaphysical-philosophical lecturing full time.
When three singers (from the vocal group “The Free Design”) asked him for help with their voices in 1976, it wasn’t very long before Dr. Mills found himself re-engaging the world of the concert stage. The three singers were soon joined by two others, then five more, and the a cappella choral ensemble he called The Star-Scape Singers was formed.
Dr. Mills co-composed (mostly with Christopher Dedrick) some 150 choral works for the Star-Scape Singers. His extensive musical training also found new expression in his orchestral keyboard compositions, created spontaneously on four MIDI keyboards. These compositions “happened” in real time in a single performance, with each of the keyboards set up for different instrumental sounds. Dr. Mills’ skilled hands flew over the machinery as he brought a rich heart-feeling and naturalness to simultaneously composing and performing a new work.
A number of Kenneth Mills’ spontaneous compositions have been released on four CDs. Three were recorded from the MIDI keyboards; the fourth features musicians from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra playing several of Dr. Mills’ works. Visit our online store to read more about these recordings and to download.
“Playing, conducting and listening to Kenneth Mills’ compositions is like being inside the music. He uses the beautiful colours of each instrument of the orchestra in a magical way and brings to the listener an incredible experience of the imagination and soul of Music.”
Associate Concertmaster, Toronto Symphony Orchestra; conductor