Army Star Returns to St. Matthew’s

By JOHN HARLOW | Editor-in-Chief

The St. Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra has confirmed Lt. Col. Dwayne Milburn, former composer in residence at the parish, is retiring from his post in Germany specially to take up the baton at the Palisadian ensemble.

The U.S. Army offered to extend his commission in Europe, but Milburn decided it was time to return to his first love: making modern classical music in America.

He will be taking up the baton laid down last summer by music director Thomas Neenan, leaving the podium after 36 years.

Milburn is a graduate of UCLA and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has served as director of cadet music at West Point and deputy commander of the U.S. Army Ban Pershing’s Own in Washington, D.C., as well as the U.S. Army’s European band and chorus. He has been one of 24 commissioned officers in the U.S. Army who leads such bands.

The Baltimore native conducted the Kennedy Center’s Annual Messiah Sing-Along, as well as leads orchestras in Georgia and Michigan.

As a composer, Milburn is known for his modern choral and wind ensemble works, including “Four Water Scenes” that appears on the Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s recording “Music from the West Coast.”

He was composer in residence in the Palisades between 2005 and 2009, during which time he wrote three major works for the orchestra and contributed more than 25 anthems, psalm settings and service music to the parish choral music program.

“His music and approach is modern, but the works are accessible—I am sure he is going be an influential and inspiring figure in the Palisadian music scene,” Neenan said.

Milburn is due to return to the Palisades in October.