Brent Miller has a multifaceted career of international acclaim as a timpanist, percussionist, conductor, curator and educator, whose performances across the globe have been reviewed as 'thrilling' and displaying 'the utmost virtuosity'. Brent's extensive orchestral career has included performances with most major orchestras in Australasia, including many years as Acting Principal Timpanist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Brent is core member of Ensemble Q, Principal Timpanist of Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, co-principal timpanist of the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra, and performs with Plexus.
Through freelance engagements, Brent has had the privilege of performing alongside artists such as Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Diana Krall, Armand Van Helden, Tim Minchin, Sinead O’Connor, Hilltop Hoods, Kate Ceberano, David Jones, Lang Lang, The Wiggles, Ministry of Sound, Kate Miller-Heidke, and Gurrumul Yunupingu, to name a few.
Brent studied timpani and percussion in Australia with Tom O'Kelly and Dr. Vanessa Tomlinson. Subsequently, by invitation, Brent studied intensively in France with the legendary Sylvio Gualda and is a proud advocate of Sylvio's virtuoso school of technique.
As an educator, Brent is a long-serving member of the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) and has given masterclasses, workshops, tuition and professional development sessions at schools and universities around Australia. Since 2020, Brent has been acting Head of Percussion at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM), The University of Melbourne.
From Bach, to Boulez, to Basement Jaxx and beyond, Brent is passionate about expressing the musical capabilities of percussion instruments to the fullest degree. Brent frequently arranges works for percussion ensemble to help achieve this task. Most recently - Handel's Passacaglia from g minor harpsichord suite (2019); Michael Giacchino's Modern life from the Disney film 'Up' (2019); Messiaen's Apparition de l'église éternelle for 12 timpanists (2021); Catherine Likhuta's horn trio Lesions (2022).
Over 100 timpani compositions have been written for Brent in response to calls for scores. Most recently (as marimbist and percussionist) Brent has recorded world premiere performances with bassoonist Lyndon Watts of works by Linda Verrier and Miriama Young, for future release. In 2023, Brent will give the World Premiere performance of Catherine Likhuta's Timpani Concerto (written for Brent) with Nicholas Williams and the University of Melbourne Wind Symphony - this marks the second timpani concerto ever written by an Australian composer, and the first by a female.
As director, Brent was Project Coordinator of the 2016 Australian Percussion Gathering - a week-long festival of concerts and masterclasses featuring international guests, attended by all tertiary percussion departments in Australia. In 2022, Brent curated Xenakis Xtravaganza festival at the Melbourne Conservatorium to celebrate the centenary of composer Iannis Xenakis, presenting most of his works for percussion and commissioning Melbourne's own set of Sixxen (a unique metal instrument designed by Xenakis) created by Melbourne master craftsman John Rechter. Brent currently serves as Vice President of the Percussive Arts Society Australian Chapter which, under new leadership, was revived in 2022.
Brent has had the privilege of directing the MCM Percussion Ensemble since 2020, rebranding as MYRIAD in honour of the legendary Barry Quinn (revered former head of percussion who created the first ever percussion course). Each semester, MYRIAD present concerts with diverse and eclectic repertoire showcasing timeless classics, new works by student composers and new commissions by established Australian composers. Recent highlights include a large-scale world premiere performance in collaboration with Grainger Museum and Federation Bells (Museums Victoria) of Noemi Liba's 'Threshold' (dedicated to refugees travelling to the unknown in search of Peace). Brent and students spend time in the percussion studio each year recording premieres of new Australian works, culminating in future CD album releases (most recently by Steve Falk, Robert Cossom and Bridget Bourne. Next to be featured are Stuart Greenbaum, Katy Abbott and Catherine Likhuta).