Soaking Up the Fanfare

By Jackie Vickery '26, November 17, 2023
David Miller ’26 wins trombone competition.

Not many college students get to add “international competition winner” to their resumes. But David Miller ’26 is an exception to that rule after taking home first place in the International Trombone Association (ITA) Trombone Fanfare Composition Competition last spring.

When Miller’s 50-second composition, “Fanfare for the World,” took top honors in the contest this past spring as part of its 50th anniversary celebration, it may have come as a revelation to him. 

“Winning this competition has been in the top five of my greatest accomplishments at IC,” he said.

Listen to David Miller’s award-winning composition, “Fanfare for the World,”  performed by trombonists from Ithaca College, Pennsylvania State University, Eastman School of Music, and the State University of New York at Fredonia.

But Miller has had plenty of people in his corner since coming to IC as a music composition major. Beginning in his first year, he immersed himself in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, playing in several ensembles, including brass and trombone quartets, jazz bands, symphony orchestras, and contemporary ensembles. With all the exposure that came from his participation, it wasn’t long before faculty members began to see that he had the potential to achieve great things.

“I can’t wait to see where David’s endeavors and evolution take him next.” 

Assistant professor of trombone Will Porter

“I gave David a nudge of encouragement and told him how he had something of value to offer,” said assistant professor of trombone Will Porter. “But that merely brought him to the starting line. From then on, everything came down to him.”

ITA’s celebration was a special occasion for Miller, as trombone players from across the country came together at the University of Utah to connect with each other.

“Going to the festival and meeting with musicians I look up to, having them come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I love your piece,’ that was amazing,” he said. 

Now in his second year at IC, Miller could not be more appreciative of having a competition win under his belt already.

“It’s reassuring and helps me feel more confident about the stuff I’m writing now—because I know I’m writing at a similar or better level than last year,” he said.

With the win, the ITA gave Miller a professional recording of his work and invited him to perform his piece during International Trombone Week in April 2024. During the week, the association will be encouraging other trombone ensembles to share recordings of their performances of the piece. It’s exciting to see an aspiration become a reality, but those who know him say it’s just the first step in his career development.

“The exposure that David’s success in this competition brought him has already led to several inquiries for professional commissions, so it’s been a wonderful jump-start to his career at such an early stage,” Porter says. “I can’t wait to see where David’s endeavors and evolution take him next.”