WSU professors win award for instrumental album

Professor forgot he applied until he received award; album was never supposed to happen



Professor Albert Miller has been playing the euphonium since he was in elementary school.


Two WSU professors have received a Global Music Award Silver Medal for Instrumental Music for their album “Scenes.”

Albert Miller, WSU assistant professor of music, played the euphonium on the album. Yoon-Wha Roh, WSU assistant professor of piano, played piano on “Scenes.” 

Miller said while the award was for instrumental music, the genre of the album is classical and programmatic, which means the music tells a definite story. He played two large pieces on this album, and both told a story. 

One piece is called “Demonic Invocation” and is a story about summoning a devil, he said. The other is called “Scenes From an Imaginary Opera,” and it prompts the listeners to interpret a story when listening. 

“It was kind of like a choose your own adventure story,” Miller said. “It gave you options … but each movement of the piece was titled a specific part of an opera, and then it was up to the listener or performer to interpret the music themselves.”

He said both pieces were 15 minutes long. The combined time of the pieces was not long enough to make an album, so he picked some songs by Nadia Boulanger, who is a French composer, to put on the album. The album ended up being 45 minutes long. 

Miller said he has been playing euphonium since he was in fifth grade and now plays music with a euphonium professor at WSU. 

“I’m here to teach history of rock and roll and elementary music, but it’s really great to be here,” he said. “The university affords … the resources to explore your research in the School of Music.”

Roh said she has been playing piano since she was four and is now a piano studio professor at WSU, as well as a collaborative piano instructor. 

Miller said he did not plan on putting the pieces into an album; he was initially going to perform the pieces around the country with Roh, but all the performances were scheduled during spring 2020 when the pandemic hit. 

He learned the music with Roh, but they ended up not having the chance to perform live, he said. So, the two were able to get into the recording studio at WSU and make the album. 

Roh said the pair worked on the album during the summer and were fortunate to have the recording studio available to them. 

“[The recording studio] is a really good one, and the music school brags about it all the time,” she said. “We were very satisfied with the recording quality.”

Miller said he had to apply for the award and forgot he applied because of how long it took to receive the letter; he was excited when he found out about the album winning the award.

“The School of Music has so many great players that have put out some really great music,” he said. “None of us make any money off of it … but it’s nice to have people I don’t know enjoy it, and I was really pleased.”

Miller said the award came with a certificate. Roh said she enjoyed the process of creating it and appreciated the recognition. 

“We took about two months,” she said. “Editing and putting it all together took way longer, but it was definitely worth it.”