by Mel Fenson with Betty B. Jones
On a mid-summer evening at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, pianist/composer Peter Kater and guitarist Dominic Miller walk on stage to perform their innovative compositions before a welcoming audience. Peter has returned for his annual performance, joining him is Dominic Miller, lead guitarist for British rock musician Gordon Summer, well known as Sting.
In a recent telephone interview with them, while they were en route to another performance in their eight-city tour across the country, Dominic was asked, "What's it like to be Dominic Miller?"
A pause. "No one has ever asked me THAT before. It's a constant struggle, but quite a good one," he replied in his British accent. "I feel I've embarked on some kind of journey, and although there doesn't seem to be any definite destination, I am enjoying the process."
When asked how he and Peter Kater teamed up, he said it began when Peter needed a guitarist for a sound track he was recording for an animated television film for Startz Media.
"Once I got started on the project I became interested in Peter's approach to music. Our relationship just evolved into something outside the film we were working on, and we began talking about collaborating on an album. Six months later I flew back to L.A. and we recorded an album entitled," In A Dream."
"Our music came together very quickly," Dominic said, "it was composed and written in about seven days with Peter writing most of the music, while I wrote a couple of the tunes. Peter woke up every morning, wrote a tune, and we recorded it." He describes the album as, "all instrumental, except for four songs by Kenny Loggins, which he sang on layered, non-verbal vocal tracks.”
When asked to describe the music he and Peter play together, he replied, "It's very difficult for any instrumentalist to describe the music they play. It's really up to the listener to decide. However, it's instrumental music with quite a lot of emphasis on melody and feel. It has influences from jazz, classical and quite a few other types of music. Technically, it's acoustic music with acoustic piano and acoustic guitar. It's an earthy sound with no gimmick. And I think people respond to that better than if we did something that was quite polished and produced."
"It's very basic in terms of sound, just piano and guitar. Our music can't be described as 'songs.' What we play are tunes and compositions, though there are names for each tune. The compositions are about four minutes in length."
Asked, "Considering your different musical backgrounds and styles, how is the musical fit working out between you and Peter?"
a musician you must adapt to the style of the people you work with. Our musical
relationship is working out very well. We both have a lot of experience and
we meet halfway. We blend our styles and the result is a new sound that works
well. It's about 60 percent improvisation and 40 percent structure. We work
around structure very loosely."
"We use our wits as we improvise and compose live on stage in front of an audience, and actually, we even improvised quite a lot on the record, too," Dominic noted. "When you're live on stage, you never know what's going to happen, like accidents, but we can expand on those, so sometimes accidents are a good thing. You've go to be willing to take risks with your music, and the higher the risk, the greater the reward."
Peter and Dominic are in the process of recording a second album now, and they are planning another tour for next year, one they think may cover twice as many cities as this year's tour - which included peformances in Maui, Hawaii; Breckenridge, Colorado; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Sedona, Arizona; Georgetown, Washington D.C; and Hampton, Virginia. It may become an annual tour.
In addition to his tour with Peter, Dominic still plays with Sting's group, and also works with his own group, "The Dominic Miller Band." While his own compositions are primarily instrumental without vocals, he occasionally collaborates with other musicians, such as Sarah Jane Morris. His biggest performances have been with 'Sting,' whom he recently performed with before an audience of 120,000 people in Quebec City in Canada.
After his tour with Peter, Dominic plans to return home, then head for Korea with his own band which includes four musicians playing keyboard, percussion, bass and guitar. He says his musical style is always evolving as he is exposed to more and more musical influences. While his primary interest is in acoustic music, he is once again becoming interested in rock music, and his overall musical horizons are broadening and becoming more complex.
Dominic was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to an American father and Irish mother. He attended high school in the USA, then moved to London to study classical guitar and composition at the Guildhall School of Music when he was 18. He is now 49, married and has six children - four boys and two girls, ranging from age three to 24 years old. His wife is an attorney. They live in Provence, France.
Peter became well known for his energized instrumental piano compositions, when he released his first album of piano solos, "Spirit," in 1983. In addition to his new release with Dominic Miller, he has recently produced three new CD 'relaxation' series, "Ambrosia," "Walk in Beauty," and "Cloud Hands," He has scored music for television, film and theater in addition to his own solo piano compositions - with his music ranging from World Fusion and Native American collaborations to New Age, contemporary jazz, vocal ensembles and full orchestrations. Peter has sold close to three-million records and written the music for over 100 television and film scores and 11 On-and-Off Broadway Dramatic plays.
arranges most of his own tours and records his albums in his own studio. He
is currently working on an album series based on Native American beliefs about
the four directions of the 'wind," which he is writing and producing.
He also recently finished scoring music for a History Channel documentary
depicting WWI Fighter Aces, entitled, "Gray Eagles."
Peter has received five Grammy nominations in the last six years, including a nomination for the Best New Age album in 2008. He explained that Grammy nominations are made by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences and voted on by the association's over 15,000 members.
lives with his wife Gabrielle in Hawaii.
As the audience departed Chautauqua Auditorium that rainy summer night in July, they carried away away with them the rippling echoes of Peter Kater and Dominic Miller's soft, flowing musical strains that inspired and soothed.
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Peter Kater and Dominic Miller
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