Ann Millikan

Notes from the Composer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ballad Nocturne

Performed by the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Emanuele Arciuli, piano; Conducted by Grigor Palikarov        

Ballad Nocturne (2009) was commissioned by Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino for pianist Emanuele Arciuli. It is both a ballad, in the tradition of jazz music, and a nocturne, in the tradition of classical music. A piece that finds the intersection of both these beautiful, intimate, expressive worlds. Nocturnes typically have an ABA structure, containing a development section of the material, offset by a contrasting middle section, before a reprise of the opening material. The piece follows this form, building and developing from a simple melody and accompaniment typical to the nocturne style, within a modal jazz sound world. Then for the jazz-influenced music and the nocturne-influenced music to grow from that little seed and become a "third thing" was my goal. By exploring these two genres together I discovered a synergy that felt completely natural.



Trilhas De Sombra

Performed by the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Conducted by Grigor Palikarov.

Trilhas de Sombra (2009), "Shadow Trails," is a three-movement work based on a story written for my Brazilian niece, Gabriela. Each movement amplifies major events in the story. Kira, a girl from a river town in the Amazon, suddenly finds herself in another world, the Snow World, where she is called upon to do something only she can do. Entering the deepest layers of the Snow World through Shadow Trials, Kira experiences the place from where all sound originates and where it must return every winter in order to survive.

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Comments [16]

robin lorentz

Anne's musics have such depth and colors that i have been lucky enough to
attempt rendering.


Jul. 02 2010 07:27 AM
Ken Field from Cambridge, MA

Millikan's work, especially her Ballad Nocturne, is evocative and creative, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to present it to my radio audience on The New Edge, which airs on WMBR/Cambridge and at

Jun. 30 2010 08:00 PM
Martin Perlich from West Hollywood, CA

I am a long-time fan of Ann's music, but "Ballad Nocturne" inhabits another dimension. Really, truly extraordinary and rhapsodic writing!

Jun. 28 2010 12:38 PM
Sweet Medicine from Sister, Oregon

complex sunset tunes, melt into chocolate coated jazz delights as one listens to Ann's pairings for ear and heart. If there was ever one that can carry the strong and consistant themes in music, she is the composer, the chef or
Her original, fluid and easy ways guide notes, and keys to fold and blend too a meal in music. Her quest to offer complex, yet easy refreshing tempo's tell of rain, lights, snow and rainbows in liquid forms setting our hearts, keeping us open and expecting for more.

Jun. 27 2010 01:12 AM
Keane from Boulder, CO

This is very well-written, beautiful, and overall very enjoyable and stimulating music.

Jun. 26 2010 04:55 PM
Micha Hamel from Amsterdam, Holland

Ann seeks how Jazzy and quasi improvised ideas fit into a compositional grammar that results in a music that sounds logical and natural while still keeping the sense of evocation of the moment. That I admire in her.

Jun. 25 2010 09:20 AM

Ann creates beautiful music that inspire.

Jun. 23 2010 06:30 PM
Bob from East coast

Ann Millikan's music outlines individual performers in an intimate way, which is perfect for Orpheus. The sonic blending
and long lines of her music pair really well with the Orpheus approach. It would
be a fantastic combination!

Jun. 23 2010 06:04 PM
Mark Eden

Ann Millikan's music deftly balances sophisticated structure with a thoroughly engaging narrative arc. Whether composing for chamber ensemble or full orchestra, her sonic and thematic range is truly inspirational.

Jun. 23 2010 04:10 PM

Ann's work is innovative and draws from a full palette of textures, giving the listener a very rich experience. She deserves wider recognition for her compositions.

Jun. 23 2010 03:04 PM
marcie rendon from minneapolis

I am a fan of Ann's music. When listening to her work the music conveys visual story in a way i have not heard many other composers manage to do - the songs take you not just on an auditory journey but a soul-moving journey.

Jun. 23 2010 11:17 AM
Ken Freed from Edina, Minnesota

Ann's complete command of the orchestra is wed to a sensuality that makes her music a delicious experience for the ear and the heart. She finds expressive possibilities between voices, timbres and genres. Always
delightful, and always fresh, her music tells a story that inspires and captivates.

Jun. 23 2010 09:08 AM
anonymous from California

Ann Millikan is Rad!

Jun. 22 2010 11:13 PM
Marlui Miranda from Brazil

Ann´s new work will enthusiasm the audience for her originality and the way she innovates on contemporary music. Trilhas de Sombra is definitely a deep breath taken by this fantastic American composer whose work is grounded in her unique way to blend elements of contemporary music and jazz.

Jun. 22 2010 04:26 AM
emanuele arciuli from Italy

I know well Ann, being the pianist of her Ballad and Nocturne. I asked Ann to write the piece for me because I like her vibrant, energetic, never banal, always sensual music. The quality of piano writing is superb.
I really send all my best wishes to Ann, that enriches "our" american music with a deep, sensitive and brilliant voice.

Jun. 22 2010 02:40 AM
Kathryn Mishell

Ann Millikan's music is appealing and original. I've scheduled her Ballade Nocturne for broadcast on my radio show INTO THE LIGHT, out of Austin, TX, feeling sure the audience will be intrigued by the way it blends classical and jazz elements in a fluid and natural way.

Jun. 21 2010 11:30 PM

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