By Emma Silverstein
School of Music Constituency Relations Officer
Bruce Miller, a retired long-time University of Washington staffer, was introduced to classical and symphonic music early. He began taking piano lessons when he was young but never felt he was talented as a musical performer and decided to discontinue his lessons. “I was exposed to classical, orchestral music as a child and fell in love,” Miller says. “I am not ‘musical,’ but I took piano lessons when I was young but I never experienced the joy I hoped for.” Though Miller continued on to become a trained scientist, he never lost his passion for the arts.
Shortly after retiring from work at the UW, Miller began focusing more on his passions and decided to start taking piano lessons again. Though he had been taking lessons on a Roland stage piano for many years, it was time for Miller to “graduate” to a real baby grand. The stage piano, however, was still in great condition and in need of a good home. Miller contacted the UW School of Music, which gladly accepted the instrument for use by its Jazz Studies program.
“This led to a meeting with the head of the Jazz program [Cuong Vu] and the School of music director at that time, Richard Karpen,” Miller says. “From Richard, I learned how hard it was for the School of Music to compete for the best instrumental students because of limited funding available for the arts.” This fateful meeting encouraged Miller to give funding to the School for a new term scholarship, specifically designed to provide crucial financial aid to students seeking performance degrees.
“I know that the arts can only flourish and inspire us if we nurture and support the talented people who make and express themselves through art,” Miller says. "It is my admiration for the people who bring art to the world, my sense of responsibility for helping to perpetuate the arts, and my conversation with Richard Karpen that led me to fund scholarships for School of Music students.”