February 29, 2016



(Portland, Ore.) — President Scott Showalter today announced that the Symphony’s 2016 Schnitzer Wonder Award will go to Mia Hall Miller, founder and artistic director of the Pacific Youth Choir. The award will be presented at the Symphony’s annual fundraising gala on April 16.
The Schnitzer Wonder Award was created in 2015 by Jordan Schnitzer to honor his parents, Harold and Arlene Schnitzer, and their commitment to philanthropy, fairness, opportunity, education and creativity as the heart of a strong and vibrant community. The award honors an individual or organization that directly works to build community through the next generation of artists and/or student musicians. This award comes with a $10,000 monetary prize, intended to help further the honoree’s work.

“Mia has been our strong partner for many years.” Showalter said. “Through her work with the Pacific Youth Choir, she has enriched the lives of thousands of her students and our patrons.”

Miller founded the Pacific Youth Choir 13 years ago to enrich children’s lives by developing their artistry in a joyful, caring, and nurturing environment. Now with over 290 singers in 10 choirs, the Pacific Youth Choir has gained critical acclaim, performing frequently with the Oregon Symphony and numerous other organizations. During the 2015/16 season alone, her choirs perform with the Symphony on a movie program, three kids programs, a pops program, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. 

Miller is the second recipient of the Schnitzer Wonder Award, following last year’s inaugural honoree, Bonnie Reagan, founder of BRAVO Youth Orchestras.

The Symphony’s annual fundraising gala, to be held at the Portland Art Museum’s Kridell Ballroom, follows last season’s record-setting “Music Creates Community” gala. This year’s theme—“Like Never Before”—will again highlight the importance of artistic collaborations, including projects with renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Rose Bond, and technical production wizard Michael Curry.


Jim Fullan
Vice President/Communications, Marketing, Sales