The Millar Brass Ensemble was founded in 1981 by a group of friends interested in playing and performing large brass ensemble music. A rehearsal space was provided for the musicians at Northwestern University's Alice Millar Chapel in return for performing at the Chapel’s worship services. After a thirty three year odyssey, the ensemble has developed into an established tradition with a nine month performing season and an international reputation for the finest in brass playing. The ensemble has toured extensively and has performed concerts at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the International Trumpet Guild Conference, the International Trombone Workshop, the New York Brass Conference, the Texas Music Educators Convention, the University of Chicago and the Eastman School of Music. The group has seven compact discs to its credit on the Crystal, Koss and Delos International labels. The brass players that make up the ensemble are highly regarded as many of the top freelance musicians in Chicago. The individual members have performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Grant Park Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and a host of other regional orchestras and chamber groups. Alumni of the Millar Brass Ensemble are performing as members of symphony orchestras around the country. While the ensemble tours and performs outside of Chicago, one of its primary functions is still to perform brass music as part of the liturgy at Alice Millar Chapel.
Mary Jo Neher
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Stephen Squires is a musician with a career that blends his passions for conducting, teaching, and performing. Mr. Squires has had the honor to conduct for many exceptional artists, including Frederica von Stade, Samuel Ramey, Janos Starker, Pinchas Zuckerman, Shmuel Ashkenasi, John Browning, Leon Bates, Stewart Goodyear, Richard Stoltzman, Ani Kavafian, Wendy Warner, James Tocco, Kevin Cole, Vadim Gluzman, Alexander Fiterstein, and most of the principal players of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera Orchestras. Fully committed to conducting the music of living composers, he has premiered over one hundred new works.
Mr. Squires received his musical training at the Preparatory School of the Eastman School of Music and the Crane School of Music, in his home state of New York. He earned his graduate degree in Instrumental Conducting and Trumpet Performance at California State University, Northridge. Further conducting studies were with Helmuth Rilling, Maurice Abravanel, Daniel Lewis, Tsung Yeh, and at the Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Squires has conducted recordings for the Delos, Spring Hill (a division of EMI), MEDR, Editions de la Rue Margot, Albany, MSR Classics, and Centaur labels. Stephen Squires has enjoyed a more than forty-year career as a Professor of Music. He is currently Professor of Conducting in the Music Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, where he conducts the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Prior to this appointment he served on the artist faculty of the Northern Illinois School of Music, where he received the prestigious “Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.”
Mr. Squires’ current professional appointments include Music Director of the Fox Valley Symphony (Aurora, IL), Music Director of the Millar Brass (Evanston, IL), and Music Director of the Illinois Brass Band (Arlington Heights, IL). He is the former Music Director of the Illinois Chamber Symphony, the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, and for more than thirty years, the Resident Conductor of the Elgin Symphony. Mr. Squires has guest conducted the Chicago Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, the Green Bay Symphony, the Columbus (OH) Symphony, the Rockford Symphony, and the Chicago Composers Orchestra. In addition, he is an accomplished recital accompanist, freelance trumpeter, and frequent guest conductor at educational festivals.
Individual Member Solo Recitals and Masterclasses