Composer and music theorist Joshua William Mills, although currently residing in Tallahassee where he works as the Assistant Director of Liberal Studies at the Florida State University while bemoaning both the climate and the unnatural size of the insects, will always consider himself a proud New Jerseyan. His work has been described as ‘beautiful, beautiful’ (John Corigliano), as ‘music that heightens the senses, stimulates the mind, and passes through the heart to grip questions of the soul’ (Lisa Kachouee, Duo Rodinia), and as ‘…interesting’ (his mother). With a tendency towards the poetic, mystical, and intimate, he relishes closely working with small groups of dedicated performers or solo musicians.
He has had works performed by the Florida State University Philharmonia, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, line upon line percussion, Duo Rodinia, What Is Noise, the University of South Florida Percussion Ensemble, South Georgia Tuba Quartet, the Peabody Opera Department, the Houghton Symphonic Winds, and numerous other individuals across the country. While at the Peabody Conservatory, he was the recipient of the P. Bruce Blair Award in Composition and winner of the Macht Orchestra Composition Competition; while at Florida State, he was the recipient of the Music Theory and Composition Area Fellowship and the FSU Orchestral Composition Competition.
As a scholar, his research focuses on connections between Classical rhetorical pedagogy and historic compositional training, the integration of atonal systems of pitch organization with tonal harmonic structures, and the intersections and interactions between timbre and harmony in late-20th- and 21st-century music. He has presented papers at various regional and national conferences, including the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory, the Florida State University Music Theory Forum, Music Theory Southeast, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the College Music Society, the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic, and the Society for Music Theory Annual Meeting, and served on the 2015 program committee for Music Theory Southeast. For his paper ‘Partimenti, Imitatio, and Exempla: Exploring (and Applying) the Pedagogical Parallels between Rhetoric and Composition,’ he was awarded the 2014 Music Theory Southeast Best Student Paper Award, and he won the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic's Dorothy Payne Award for his paper ‘Timbre, Harmony, Orchestration, and Analysis, and Rautavaara’s Symphony no. 8 “The Journey”’. Other music-theoretical hobbies include Schenkerian theory and analysis, all aspects music theory pedagogy, intersections between Funktiontheorie and Stufentheorie, and a quixotic search for a psychoacoustically grounded energeticist model of tonality.
Joshua holds a bachelor's degree from Houghton College, where he studied piano, clarinet, double bass, and conducting in addition to composition, and two master's degrees from the Peabody Conservatory: one in composition and one in music theory pedagogy. In November 2016, he defended his doctoral dissertation at the Florida State University. His principal teachers have included Mark Hijleh, Sun Mi Ro, Christopher Theofanidis, Derek Bermel, Michael Hersch, and Ladislav Kubík; additionally, he has also worked with David Smooke, Christopher Rouse, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
Joshua has formerly served as music director of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Choral Society and as a chanter at Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum, Maryland. He is currently a ψάλτης (chanter) at the Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church in Tallahassee, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Florida, and, on rare occassions, may be spotted performing at the piano.
Composer Joshua William Mills holds a Doctor of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition from Florida State University, Master of Music degrees in Composition and Music Theory Pedagogy from the Peabody Conservatory, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Houghton College. His principal teachers have included Ladislav Kubík, Michael Hersch, Christopher Theofanidis, Derek Bermel, and Mark Hijleh. His works have been performed by the Florida State University Philharmonia, the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, line upon line percussion, Duo Rodinia, What Is Noise, South Georgia Tuba Quartet, the University of South Florida Percussion Ensemble, the Peabody Opera Department, and the Houghton Symphonic Winds. He is also active as a music theorist, having presented papers at the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory, Music Theory Southeast, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the College Music Society, the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic, and the Society for Music Theory. In addition to his activities as a composer, theorist, and teacher, he is also a Greek Orthodox chanter.
Josh Mills writes music
and thinks and talks about it.
Good fellow, this Josh.