Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs
Music Bldg, Room 156
B.M., Eastman School of Music; M.M., The Juilliard School; D.M.A., Manhattan School of Music; Certificate, Liszt Academy, Budapest; M.P.A., Harvard Kennedy School.
Steinway Artist John Milbauer has recently performed in China, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, and Japan as well as throughout the United States. Highlights of the past two seasons include Ravel's Concerto in G with the Boston Pops and Keith Lockhart in Boston's Symphony Hall, Poulenc's Aubade with San Diego Winds, recitals with Stephanie Houtzeel of the Vienna State Opera, residencies with the Conservatorios Nacionales Superiores of Sevilla and Jaén in Spain, and a tour of major cities in China. Recent projects include performances of Milbauer's "Which Side Are You On?" program based on themes of protest, immigration, and workers' rights. A 2017 review in Sevilla said “this extraordinary program reminds us that we all can be refugees, exiles, and immigrants…and John Milbauer says this through the keys of the piano.” France's Republique du Centre has called him "a virtuoso of the first magnitude" while American Record Guide awarded him a Critic's Choice—top 10% of reviews for the year—writing, "Milbauer employs a full expressive range, performs with astounding delicacy, and conveys unspeakable wonder through an intimate touch and astonishing versatility." A laureate of the Orléans Concours in France for piano music of the 20th Century, he has performed concerts devoted only to chance music and enjoys playing music that employs electronic sounds, prepared piano, extended techniques, and graphic notation; in a similar vein, he has contributed a chapter on the performance of the music of John Cage to The Pianist's Craft series. His Humanities Seminar "Beyond Brahms at the Piano"—a twelve-hour multi-disciplinary lecture/recital on the fragmentation of compositional languages over the last century—won the Humanities Seminar Program Superior Teaching Award in 2020 from UA's College of Humanities. A versatile musician, Milbauer has performed with the Mills Brothers and Pink Martini.
Milbauer studied music, classics, and government at Harvard College before earning degrees from the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and, as recipient of a Fulbright grant, the Liszt Academy in Budapest. He was awarded the Eastman Performer's Certificate (the highest performance honor of the school) and the Wolodarsky Prize from the Banff Centre, and was nominated for the Gina Bachauer prize for outstanding pianist at Juilliard. His teachers include Jerome Lowenthal, Ferenc Rados, György Sebök, and Rebecca Penneys. Since 2012 he has been Co-Chair of the Chautauqua Institution Piano Program, helping to transform it into one of the premiere summer piano programs in the Americas.
Milbauer spent 2019-20 as a John F. Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government under the guidance of Prof. Ron Heifetz, Co-Founder of Harvard's Center for Public Leadership. He earned a Master in Public Administration degree from HKS in 2020, having been Co-Chair of the HKS Arts and Culture Caucus as well as Associate Editor of the Harvard Kennedy School LGBTQ Policy Journal. In addition to the MPA curriculum at HKS involving global development and governance, adaptive leadership, behavioral economics, and negotiation, Milbauer studied innovation ecosystems and regional acceleration at MIT Sloan School of Management and arts entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School.
"Crystal-clear Mozart with exemplary ornamentation…Milbauer displayed his musical sovereignty in Ravel's Tombeau…a master of agogic and rhythm, and one hopes for his return."
—Walliser Zeitung, Switzerland
"The Bartok Concerto, brilliantly played by pianist John Milbauer, was the audience hit, from a rhythmic first movement filled with nature/bird sounds to an absolutely beautiful, pensive second movement in which the soloist, as if in solitary space created by quivering strings, seems to ruminate before concluding with an excitingly rapid final movement."
—The Sacramento Bee