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Oakland, CA - The Mills College Music Department is pleased to announce the appointment of Roscoe Mitchell as Darius Milhaud Chair of Composition. He will assume the three-year position in fall 2007. The Milhaud Chair was established in 1979 in honor of Darius Milhaud who taught at Mills from 1941 to 1971.

Mitchell's innovations as a solo performer, his role in the resurrection of long-neglected woodwind instruments of extreme register, and his reassertion of the composer into what has traditionally been an improvisational form, have placed him at the forefront of contemporary music for more than 40 years. As a composer and multi-instrumentalist, he was a major contributor to the body of musical literature that ushered in the post-Coltrane period.

Mitchell was a member of Muhal Richard Abrams' Experimental Band and a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1965. His monumental “Sound” album (1966) introduced a new way of freely improvising, utilizing silence as well as high energy and "little instruments" as well as conventional horns. This groundbreaking music continues to inspire free improvisers today.

One of the top saxophonists to come out of Chicago's avant-garde jazz movement of the mid-1960s, Mitchell is a particularly strong and consistently adventurous improviser long associated with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which he founded with Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, Joseph Jarman, and Philip Wilson (later succeeded by Famoudou Don Moye). He has written more than 250 compositions and recorded more than 87 albums for Delmark, Nessa, Sackville, Moers Music, 1750 Arch, Black Saint, BYG, ECM, PI Recordings, RogueArt, AECO, Mutablemusic, Lovely Music, Victo, Chief, Alantic, Cecma, and Silkheart, in settings ranging from large ensembles to unaccompanied solo performances. 

Distinguished composers who have held the Milhaud Chair include Betsy Jolas, Lou Harrison, Gordon Mumma, Kenneth Gaburo, Anthony Braxton, Conlon Nancarrow, Iannis Xenakis, Annie Gosfield, Joëlle Léandre, Alvin Curran, and Pauline Oliveros.

Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering innovative degree programs for undergraduate women, and graduate degree and certificate programs for women and men. Consistently recognized as one of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Mills currently ranks among the top 20 most diverse liberal arts colleges. The New York Times recently selected Mills as one of three leading California colleges for students to consider.

In 2006, the Washington Monthly College Rankings named Mills a leading liberal arts college based on community service, research spending, quality of preparation for graduate education, and social mobility. In addition, The Princeton Review’s annual guide, the Best 361 Colleges (2007) included Mills for the second year in a row among top U.S. institutions offering students an outstanding undergraduate education.

Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, on 135 lush acres, Mills provides a dynamic liberal arts education fostering women’s leadership, social responsibility, and creativity.

Deborah Dallinger
Communications Consultant

Last Updated: 7/3/07