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Amy Riebs Mills

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Amy Riebs Mills


Amy Riebs Mills (b. 1955) is an American composer and conductor.

Dr. Mills holds a doctorate in conducting from Catholic University, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Northwestern University, where she was the School of Music’s 1995 commencement speaker. She continued her studies at the Conductors’ Institute, Tanglewood, and the Oregon Bach Festival, studying with Gustav Meier, Harold Farberman, Daniel Lewis, and Helmut Rilling.

For 14 seasons Amy Mills was music director of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin. As a guest conductor, Maestra Mills made her Russian debut in conducting the Dubna Symphony Orchestra, and has conducted orchestras in Poland, Brazil, Israel and Mexico. In the United States she has guest conducted the Acadiana Symphony in Louisiana, the Springfield Symphony in Missouri, the Arlington Symphony of Virginia, and the Traverse Symphony in Michigan, among others.

Dr. Mills founded and served as music director of the National Women’s Symphony in Washington, D.C., a professional orchestra featuring the music of women composers along with recognized masters. After founding this ensemble in 1992, she performed world and American premieres of works by Libby Larsen, Pulitzer Prize winner Melinda Wagner, Jennifer Higdon and Augusta Read Thomas. The orchestra also collaborated with the Norwegian and Canadian embassies in presenting American premieres of women composers of their countries.

Prior to her appointment in La Crosse, Ms. Mills was the youngest music director of the U.S. Air Force Band, Orchestra, and Chorus. She was the first woman to serve as music director of the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, conducting the 27-member full-time professional chorus in over 350 concerts around the country.

Complementing a successful conducting career that has spanned over four decades, Amy Riebs Mills is increasingly in demand as a composer, writing in all genres, including orchestra and band, winds and strings, voice, chorus and piano.

Under the baton of Maestro Harvey Felder, her Christmas Angels and Bells was premiered by the Tacoma Symphony in 2012, and orchestras around the U.S. have performed her pops arrangements. Chicago’s Sapphire Woodwind Quintet premiered New Dancing Shoes, Suite for Woodwind Quintet in 2015. And Shelley Waite premiered Advent Trilogy (Three Men of Christmas) in Morristown, Tennessee, in 2015.

Her music has been performed by the state orchestra of Aquascalientes, Mexico and the U.S. Army Orchestra, the Tacoma Symphony, the U.S. Army Band, and at the International Women’s Brass Conference, the International Trombone Festival, the American Trombone Workshop.

Megumi Kanda, principal trombonist of the Milwaukee Symphony, commissioned and premiered Dr. Mills’ virtuoso piece for trombone, Red Dragonfly, at the 2013 International Trombone Festival. And in 2015 Ms. Kanda premiered the band version at the American Trombone Workshop with the U.S. Army Band. Kanda has also commissioned Mills to write a new virtuoso piece, Golden, will be premiered at the International Trombone Festival in 2021.

Dennis Najoom, co-principal trumpet of the Milwaukee Symphony commissioned, recorded, and posted the Internet premiere of Journey One, Concerto for Trumpet and String Orchestra. Amy McCabe of the U.S. Marine Band presented the live premiere of Journey One at the 2014 International Women’s Brass Conference.

Dr. Mills has served on the faculty of the Conductors’ Institute at Bard College and frequently serves as an adjudicator and clinician.

Works for Winds