Conductor of L.A.-based community orchestra to retire—after 63 years

Posted on: May 4, 2016

“Conductor Alvin Mills, 94, is retiring from the Brentwood-Westwood Symphony Orchestra after 63 years,” writes Steve Lopez in Wednesday’s (5/4) Los Angeles Times. “The year Dwight Eisenhower took up residence in the White House … Mills wanted to start a community orchestra. He and a musician friend, Robert Turner, settled on the Westside. And so began the Brentwood Symphony Orchestra, which soon became the Brentwood-Westwood Symphony Orchestra.” The orchestra, which performs free concerts and holds an annual youth competition, “has had but one conductor in its entire 63-year existence. May 15 will be that conductor’s final concert…. He has conducted from a sitting position in recent years, and he’s shared more duties with associate conductor Diego Miralles, to whom he will pass the baton…. Mills studied music at USC, and as a violinist, he played with Leopold Stokowski and the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra” and studied with Pierre Monteux. “He found joy in working on a smaller stage—public school auditoriums, usually—shaping an orchestra made up of local talent. ‘That might be your son or daughter in the orchestra, or your mother or father. And there’s the fact that it’s the community orchestra. It belongs to the people,’ Mills says.”

Posted May 4, 2016