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  • Writer's picturePaul Miller

"Your passion for teaching, encouraging and nurturing has inspired so many"

Following the farewell concert at the Sydney Conservatorium of music, David G. Miller was presented with a book of personal messages from staff and current and previous students. Here are some excerpts from these comments.

Photo: Dom Blake
I have been extremely lucky to have the benefit of one of the most gifted teachers I have ever met. I know so many musicians who have benefitted from your experience and your extensive knowledge, not to mention your incredible gifts as a chamber musician.

Josephine Allan

My recital preparation with you was the start of a lifelong fascination for detail and ‘unlocking’ pieces to make them my own. This has the handy effect of taking the fear out of performance.

Erika Simons

Soprano, Theater Osnabrück, Germany

Everything I learnt with you and Geoffrey Parsons I still put into practice, whether it be at the keyboard or at the helm of an orchestra. The principles are the same and I am grateful for your support and your guidance.

Guy Noble

Conductor and Host, Queensland Symphony Orchestra

I learnt so much from your teaching via my students who became increasingly confident in your focused guidance. When Rex Hobcroft asked you to set up the first Accompaniment Department in Australia, he certainly picked the right person.

Maree Ryan

Former head of Vocal and Opera Studies, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Thank you for instilling a passion for this mad industry in everyone lucky enough to pass through the door of the Geoffrey Parsons Room over the years.

Morgan Elliot Pearse

Baritone, London, UK

I have so much to thank David for. His kindness, his insight, his inspiration and his support, and ultimately for the direction my professional career took.

Michael Bell

College Accompanist, St. Aloysius’ College

You taught me the importance of building an ensemble: the unique communication and collaboration between singer and pianist.

Caroline Wenborne

Soprano, Vienna State Opera

I remember telling Richard Gill at the time that I was to be studying with you, and he remarked “Good, he is the best. You will learn something from him!”. And, of course, I did.

Bradley Kunda

Musical artist and digital product designer

Thank you, David, for imparting to me wonderful musical values and standards; the grounding in languages, understanding the voice, thorough preparedness, unending collegiality and most importantly the love of music.

Michael Black

Chorus Master, Lyric Opera of Chicago

The wisdom and guidance you gave to me at that time was absolutely invaluable.

Michael Curtain

Assistant Chorus Master, Opera Australia

Consummate professionalism and composure, with such humility and with no grandstanding whatsoever, providing invaluable support to all those lucky enough to work with him.

Bradley Evans

Piano Examiner, AMEB 

That year with David in his Graduate Diploma was pivotal in opening my eyes and ears to what it means to be a collaborative pianist. He was the least possessive teacher ever – the more you work with every other person, the more you will learn was his motto.

Francis Greep General Manager & Associate Artistic Director, The Song Company

Geoffrey Parsons may have made a name for himself overseas, but you are the one that has made the biggest impact on the art of accompaniment here in Australia and will always stand out as our peerless pioneer.

David Howie

Lecturer in Collaborative Piano, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

David, your impact on my musical development and trajectory is, simply put, inestimable. You opened a door for me – not only to a smorgasbord of magical music, but also to the unparalleled joy of musical collaboration.

Matthew Brooks

Through your inspiring lessons, vast wealth of knowledge, never-ending curiosity and passion for art song and chamber music, you sparked and nurtured my love of this art form.

Emma Moore

Soprano, Deutsches National Theater Weimar, Germany

David opened up a repertoire of vocal and instrumental music, inspiring me to develop my pianistic musical and interpretive skills. For that inspiration I will always be grateful.

Ben Burton

Thank you, David, for being a consistently calm, generous and humorous mentor. Your vast knowledge and kindness changed and shaped everyone around you.

Alison Cameron

Thank you for being a helpful mentor, a tireless professional and an inspiring figure. You did more than prepare me academically, you prepared me for life.

Joanne Chan

You would always find time to help a young accompanist and your knowledge of style and repertoire was stupendous.

Vincent Colagiuri

My lessons covered not only repertoire, interpretation, sight-reading, rehearsal technique and other essential skills. I also learned about collaboration, friendship and diplomacy.

Bethany Cook

David uses creative and inventive ways of teaching the art of ensemble. He turned black and white scores into colourful works of art, bringing the music to life for his students with his vivid imagination and expressive stories.

Phillipa Cook

You gave me passion for the craft, confidence, a willingness to try anything and everything. You always believed in me and told me I could do it.

Lindsay Gilroy


Ultimately, it is David’s generosity of spirit towards others, his sense of what it is to be a valuable human being and musician, that allow some of his myriad skills to be shared with the rest of us.

Kate Golla

I relished every lesson. Your approach to music-making and true collaboration you shared with me has moulded the musician I am today. Your dedication to advancing the art of collaborative piano has been astounding.

Kate Johnson

Opera Australia

Your devotion to music is infectious and congratulations on inspiring many generations of musicians.

Patrick Keith

Your deep knowledge of music and repertoire and that rare ability to impart that knowledge with patience and always a sense of humour has to be thanked many times over.

Elizabeth Laszlo

The year I spent working with you equipped me with the skills and confidence to explore possibilities overseas and that has led to a wide-ranging and fulfilling career in the UK and Australia.

Lucy McAlary

Director, Penrith City Choir

I will always be grateful for the way he encouraged me and everyone to be their best.

Fiona McCabe

Wellington, New Zealand

Your skill in interpreting the composers’ thoughts to illuminate the music is something that I still try to emulate with my own students.

Allen McCracken

I learnt so much from David. He plays with the utmost integrity and has raised the standard of accompanists in many realms by being an excellent musician and educator. However, the most valuable skills I learnt from David were life skills.

Kimberley Michael

Thank you for being such an inspirational artist and generous teacher.

Natalie Murray Beale Conductor

I remember the saying you had written above your door that being an accompanist was the “Art of Compromise”, to which I can attest to and has been the case throughout my career.

Lilli Naulu

This year of studying with David was one of the happiest years of my life. I learnt so much. He instilled in us that nothing was impossible as long as you worked hard and kept an open mind. I will never forget the role and the importance that he had in my musical and personal life.

Helen Mager-Osborn

Associate Professor for Vocal Repertoire, Hochschüle für Musik, Detmold, Germany

The commitment, dedication and love of the artform you instilled in me are the values I treasure today.

Susanne Powell

Senior Lecturer in Music, The Australian National University

Your passion for teaching, encouraging and nurturing has inspired so many. Personally, I will be forever indebted to you for the hours you invested in me both as an individual and as a musician.

Katie Robinson

You helped me find who I was as a young pianist and shaped my pathway as a musician.

Karen Smithies

Associate Lecturer in Accompaniment, University of Tasmania

Thank you so much for enriching my life with such ensemble skills – not just about playing together but also learning to know people, sharing opinions, building up relationships, learning how to say no at certain times. All these life skills that will last a lifetime whatever we do.

Moon Sun Song

Auckland, New Zealand

My favourite thing about David and my biggest lesson from him was: always be curious

Ben Van Tienen

Brighton, UK

I learnt to attend more closely to the structural, textural and contextual elements of the music.

Jennifer Wakeling

Australian Catholic University

It’s David’s approach to detail that connects us to our expressive possibility and therefore, to each other.

Sally Whitwell

I feel much more comfortable socialising and networking. I don’t quite doubt myself as much as I did before and that’s all thanks to you and all the help and support you’ve given me.

Jamie-Lee Xu

Blossom Music School

Your artistic expertise, erudition, warm personality, encouragement and grace has been a great inspiration to me personally

Stacey Xiaoyu Yang

Australian Catholic University

Students have come to rely on your transformation into a wizardly rescuer followed by a growing belief in your halo of dependability that comes into its own just before you and they walk out onto the stage.

Ruth Jones

Staff, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

There will be many tributes written about Mr David Miller’s outstanding legacy as a classical musician in this country, and rightfully so. He deserves all of the accolades given to him.

Alexander Knight


My three years under your tutelage were the most enjoyable and productive of my student life. Your impeccable musicianship, knowledge and flair have left a lasting impression on me.

Andrew Basile


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