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Emil Miland


Emil Miland joined the opera orchestra in 1988. He was born in Oakland and grew up in Alameda, with his father who was a music educator and his mother who was a nurse. The youngest in the family, he began private cello lessons at 13 and made his solo debut with the San Francisco Symphony at 16. The same year, he was selected to perform for Mstislav Rostropovich in masterclasses held at the University of California at Berkeley. Emil studied the cello in London and Boston before returning to California. He was happy to join the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in 1988 and has enjoyed being part of such a fine orchestra. His talented colleagues have indeed become family. In fact he and his stand partner often spend more time together than with their spouses!


Emil has been blessed with many highlights in his career. The cello has been an incredible source of joy and personal growth throughout his life.  There are many recordings of his solo and chamber performances.  As a musician, Emil has always been grateful for our wonderful audience who have taken the time to listen and love opera.  Little did he know, when he attended his first opera with Leontyne Price singing Il Trovatore, he would end up working at that very same opera house for over 30 years.  His love of the human voice has only grown with a career playing with some of the world’s best voices.  He had the great honor of playing with Frederica von Stade in Carnegie hall for her farewell recital, and while waiting to join her onstage, heard her introduce him to New York City as “Mr. Music of San Francisco.”


The last concert he played before this challenging pandemic was part of a series called Violins of Hope.  The instruments being played had survived the Nazi concentration camps.  Having the opportunity to make that cello sing again was incredible, humbling, and inspiring.  Serving the music we all hold so dear is the ultimate reward in a musical life.  Here’s to many more years of celebrating great art, striving for the highest standards, and seeing a full and happy audience in our cherished opera house!

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