What’s your name?
My full name is Kyle Mason Miller. According to Wikipedia, a “kyle” is a narrow strip of water that connects two larger bodies of water. The word also can mean “fair and handsome” (Wikipedia). Masons build things out of stone or brick, and millers grind things into flour.
Where are you from?
I was born in Reading, PA (the birthplace of John Updike — Wikipedia) and grew up in the nearby town of Mohnton, where I lived with my parents and my younger sister, Erica. According to Wikipedia, Mohnton sprawls across 0.9 square miles. I spent much of my time outside of school gallivanting with my best friend Aaron Jones, who now is, among other things, a composer and music theorist. The nature of our gallivanting is much too nerdy to disclose here.
How did you come to the viola?
My musical journey began when I was ten years old. I was a fourth-grader at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School in Shillington, PA (John Updike’s childhood hometown — Wikipedia), and we fourth-graders were encouraged to join at least one of GMIS’s music ensembles. I scheduled an appointment to meet with the music teacher, fully intending to walk away with a saxophone. She somehow persuaded me to walk away with a viola, an instrument I had never heard of. Not long after that fateful meeting, it became apparent to me that violas are the COOLEST.
Are you a Juilliard student? Were you? Or do you now work as part of the studio?
I came to Juilliard in 2010 as a Master of Music degree candidate, after completing undergraduate studies with Carol Rodland. Before this year, I was a proud student of Hsin-Yun Huang and Steven Tenenbom, and thus a proud member of the ACHT studio. I graduated from Juilliard last year but decided to return for a second MM in Baroque viola performance. I am now halfway through my first year in the historical performance program, and I still attend ACHT studio classes whenever I can.
If you could play any non-viola piece, what would it be?
I really wish that I could play a piece on the cello. Any piece. Cellists have access to my favorite thing in the world, something that we violists dare not use: two-finger vibrato. If I played the cello, I would leave the vibrato faucet running at all times.
Do you have any secret skills?
Whenever I find out that I have a skill, I immediately and utterly blow my cover. I just get so excited.
You are forced by the United States Government to not practice for a day. What do you do with yourself?
I would finally cut that hip-hop album I’ve been meaning to cut.
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