Pianist (Conducting Academy)
Sandra Milliken is based in Brisbane, Australia, where she works as a composer, arranger, conductor, teacher and adjudicator.
Born into a musical family, Sandra learnt the piano from an early age and later undertook studies in voice and flute. A graduate of the University of New England, Sandra also has a Masters in choral conducting from the University of Queensland. She holds performance qualifications from Trinity College London and the Australian Music Examinations Board, and has her own music practice, specialising in voice and piano.
Sandra has had a long involvement with choral music. She is currently the music director of the Bayside Divas, a women’s choir based in the Brisbane suburb of Sandgate. From 1995 to 2008, Sandra was on the staff of Queensland Youth Choir, conducting several of their ensembles and in 2006 was appointed the QYC Artistic Director. In 2007 she took up the position of Conductor of the much-awarded Blackstone-Ipswich Cambrian Choir where she remained until Easter of 2016. She then went on to direct the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir until April 2018.
During 2001 Sandra travelled overseas on a Churchill Fellowship studying choral conducting and vocal/choral pedagogy. She visited 56 choirs in England, Sweden, Finland, the United States and Canada, working with and observing many international choral experts.
Sandra has achieved international recognition as an Australian composer specialising in choral music. Her compositions demonstrate a strong Australian influence that reflects her interests in indigenous languages, eclectic influences and texts by contemporary Australian writers. Her works have a fresh melodic and harmonic approach, which translates well to her preferred vocal medium. Her works have been performed by choirs in Scandinavia, Central and Western Europe, the United Kingdom, North America, south-east Asia, New Zealand and Australia.
Sandra has her own choral music series – Choral Vivace – which is published by Edition Peters London. She also has a collection of mainly a cappella works in English, Finnish and Latin that is published by the Finnish company Sulasol. More recently, she has begun publishing some of her choral music arrangements and original instrumental music compositions through Sheet Music Press.
Sandra has an avid interest in, and commitment to, promoting Australian choral music through her choral workshops and international invitations. As an adjudicator and music educator, Sandra has travelled extensively within Australia and internationally to China, Canada, the United States, England and Finland.
As a conductor she has produced a number of highly acclaimed choral recordings including the premiere Australian recordings of the Ramirez Misa Criolla and Navidad Nuestra; a collection of new Australian Music titled New Leaves; A Cambrian Collection – an eclectic collection of repertoire from around the world; and Haydn Sunrise featuring selected works by Michael Haydn and the Sunrise Mass by Ola Gjeilo.