Riding high on his recent Grammy win, Albany Symphony Orchestra conductor David Alan Miller is looking to expand his audience with a performance that appeals to the younger set.
• What: “Michigan Miller in Raiders of the Lost Symphony”
• When: Sunday, Feb. 9, at 3 p.m.
• Where: The Palace Theatre, Albany
• How much: $18 for adults, free for children under 12
• Info:465-3334 or visit palacealbany.com.
Bethlehem native Miller accepted his first Grammy award Sunday, Jan. 26, in Los Angeles for Best Classical Instrument Solo. His busy schedule leaves him little time to celebrate — Miller and the orchestra will be back performing at the Palace Theatre Sunday, Feb. 9, at 3 p.m.
The Feb. 9 performance, “Michigan Miller in Raiders of the Lost Symphony,” is part of the GE Kids in Free Day promotion sponsored by GE. Kids under 12 are admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Heather Mourer, director of marketing, said the performance is loosely based on the classic Indiana Jones series.
“David (Miller) dresses up as Indy and is on a search through time to find out the origins of the symphony,” said Mourer. “It’s an educational program that teaches children about the origins of the symphony and about the music.”
Miller said the show’s theme lets him cover a lot of ground musically.
“I play a musical archaeologist traveling through time, and every time we arrive in a different era, we play a different composer associated with that time, covering everyone from Mozart to Papa Hadyn,” said Miller.
Joseph “Papa” Hadyn is considered one of the creators of the symphony orchestra and earned his nickname from the musicians that worked for him as a term of endearment.
Children are encouraged to pretend they are archaeological adventurers and join Michigan Miller as he travels through the “Door of Time” into a murky musical past. Children get to help him solve the riddles of the evil “Symphonic Sphinx” in his effort to find “Papa” Haydn and unlock the mystery of the symphony’s beginnings.
Miller is no stranger to bringing classical music to young audiences. Previously, he worked as a conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic where, among other things, he would conduct Symphonies for Youth concerts.
“They (children) come away having learned a great deal without realizing they have been learning,” said Miller. “It doesn’t matter if the kids know about Indy, it’s a great way to introduce them to all these great composers.”
Miller said the concert is not just for the kids since the music goes back in time nearly 300 years.
“It’s appropriate for anyone from 4 to 104 — a lot of senior citizens come too,” said Miller. “There is an instrument petting zoo where all the kids can come to the lobby at 2 p.m. Sunday before the show and check out all the instruments, so it really is a family activity. I hope everybody will come down and have fun with us.”
When Miller went to Los Angeles to accept his Grammy, he was able to bring his son Ari, a student at Bethlehem High School with him.
“It was thrilling and my youngest son, Ari, accompanied me, and we spent two days in L.A. We got to see all these amazing pop acts. It was really thrilling,” said Miller.