Clyde Miller elided a forty-year playing career into a thirty-year teaching career at North Texas State University (1954-1984), now the University of North Texas. Clyde is justifiably proud of his teaching career: his students have won IHS competitions and are playing in major orchestras and teaching at universities.
Clyde was born in 1917 and raised in Downers Grove, a suburb of Chicago. His music training started with piano. He began playing horn in the sixth grade – he "wanted something to blow." He progressed from a mellophone, then to a Conn single F horn.
Clyde's greatest early influence was Louis Dufrasne, with whom he studied for six years, from his second year of high school through a BME degree at Northwestern University. Dufrasne taught few students, but another of his students at that time was Philip Farkas. The basic warm-up that they both learned is published in Farkas's The Art of French Horn Playing. Clyde attributes his love for a singing, flowing style of playing and his method of teaching to Dufrasne.
Carl Geyer made a matching pair of double horns in 1924; Dufrasne bought one and Clyde the other. Clyde played this horn his entire career. When Dufrasne died in 1941, Clyde purchased the matching horn from his widow.
Clyde played his first professional job after his sophomore year at college as principal horn in a Grant Park concert with Max Pottag on second. In his senior year, Clyde performed the Strauss Concerto No. 1 with the student orchestra.
|Bill Scharnberg, Clyde Miller and UNT Music Dean James Scott
at Miller's 90th birthday celebration
Clyde joined the Indianapolis Symphony immediately after graduation, where he was assistant principal to Frank Brouk, and later third, then co-principal. He played for three-and-a-half years in a US Army band ("time spent") during World War II. Upon discharge, he earned at master's degree from Columbia University's Teacher's College, completing it in 1947. He free-lanced in New York City, with connections through Richard Moore, principal horn at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and conductor Leon Barzin. He also toured with a brass quintet and in a trio, performing the Brahms Trio, and started a long association with the Asbury Park Municipal Band, returning during summers until he became principal in the Central City (CO) Opera, and later played in Dallas and Fort Worth musicals.
Clyde auditioned in 1948 for Antal Dorati, conductor of the Dallas Symphony, and won the principal horn position, where he played until 1963. He started teaching at North Texas State University in 1954, becoming full-time in 1963, still performing with the Fort worth Symphony for nine years. He was a member of the faculty wind quintet and performed solos with the band.
A scholarship in Clyde’s name supports horn students at the University of North Texas. Clyde was honored with the Punto Award at the 1991 IHS symposium in Denton TX. A profile appears in the April 1984 issue of The Horn Call.