Mills College, home for generations of composers, likely to close in 2023

Posted on: April 1, 2021

“The music program at Mills College and the electronics-focused Center for Contemporary Music, together among the most distinguished havens for experimental work in America over the past century, are facing possible closure,” writes Geeta Dayal in Tuesday’s (3/30) New York Times. On March 17, the Oakland, California-based college “announced that ongoing financial problems, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, would mean the end of its history as a degree-granting institution…. The school’s final degrees are likely to be conferred in 2023…. For composers and musicians, the potential loss of the Mills program has come as a startling blow…. The school’s faculty over the years” has included Darius Milhaud, Luciano Berio, Pauline Oliveros, Robert Ashley, and Terry Riley. “In the first half of the 20th century, when composers like John Cage became associated with the school, Mills developed a reputation for nonconformity…. Mills’s archives [include] over 2,000 tapes of performances, lectures and interviews, along with scores, letters and synthesizers—and hundreds of percussion instruments owned by Lou Harrison. David Bernstein, the current chair of the music department, said the archives would be protected. ‘We have been working on this project for quite some time,’ he said.”