Charles Mills - Sonata Fantasia (Bixby Kennedy, clarinet)



Admired for his “suppleness and beauty of tone” (Allan Kozinn, Portland Press Herald) Bixby Kennedy is one of the most versatile clarinetists of his generation. He has performed concerti with the Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Sinfonietta, and Indiana University Symphony. As a chamber musician, Bixby has performed throughout the US and Europe in venues including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, The Kennedy Center, Marlboro Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, and Caramoor. He is the clarinetist for the “explosive” New York City based chamber ensemble Frisson. As an orchestral musician, Bixby currently holds titles as the Associate Principal Clarinetist of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Albany Symphony, and is the Principal Clarinetist of Symphony in C. He has appeared as a guest artist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He is a former member of Ensemble Connect and works as a teaching artist throughout New York City. He loves traveling, trying new foods, laughing, hiking, and playing tennis.


Charles Mills (b. Asheville, N. Carolina, Jan. 8, 1914; d. NY,  March 7, 1982), was an American composer.  He played in jazz bands from age 17 and in 1933 went to N.Y. and engaged in serious study of music, first with Max Garfield and then with Copland (1935–37), Sessions (1937–39), and Harris (1939–41). During his career, he was the winner of several prestigious prizes including the Guggenheim fellowship in 1952.  He composed chamber and orchestral works including film music and ballets, and vocal music including sacred choral works. He wrote mostly in a severe but eloquent contrapuntal style; in virtually his entire career as a composer, he pursued the ideal of formal cohesion; his style of composition may be described as Baroque a l’americaine. In his later works, Mills gradually adopted serial methods.  His quest for artistic self-discipline led him to the decision to become a Roman Catholic. He was baptized according to the Roman Catholic rite on May 14, 1944. He was commissioned by Mitropoulos to compose work for NYPO, 1951. Principal works include 6 symphonies; piano concerto; flute concerto; Theme and Variations for orchestra; oboe concertino; and many chamber works, some involving jazz ensembles.


Sonata Fantasia - Charles Mills
Recorded at home in Macon, GA, June 2020
Mastered by Robert Scott Thompson, Aucourant Records.
Property of Shelter Recording Project, American Composers Alliance