John Miller received his early musical training at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and the New England Conservatory in Boston, (MM, Artist Diploma). He also holds a BS degree in humanities and engineering from MIT and was awarded a Fulbright grant for music study in Amsterdam, (1964-65). While in Boston he founded the Bubonic Bassoon Quartet and made the premier recordings of the Hummel Bassoon Concerto, released with the Weber Concerto on Cambridge Records, and Zelenka’s Sonatas for Two Oboes and Obbligato Bassoon, (4-6), on the same label.
He became Principal Bassoon of the Minnesota Orchestra in 1971 and retired from his position in January, 2016, having become the longest serving principal player in the 100+year history of that orchestra. He remains on the faculty of the University of Minnesota where he has taught since 1971. His long solo career has included performing the major bassoon repertory with the Minnesota Orchestra and numerous other orchestras around the world. In addition to teaching at Boston University, New England Conservatory, Sarasota Music Festival, and Las Vegas Music Festival, he has presented master classes and recitals at many of the world's leading conservatories and music schools.
In the late 1980s Mr. Miller, in collaboration with bassoon manufacturer Alan Fox, helped to develop America’s first professional level bassoon, the FOX Model 601, which he has played exclusively since 1991.
Among his solo recordings are four concertos by Vivaldi, and the Mozart and Vanhal concertos, all conducted by Sir Neville Marriner on two Pro Arte CDs. For more than 20 years he was a member of the American Reed Trio. His teachers have included Louis Skinner, Arthur Weisberg, Stanley Petrulis, Sherman Walt, Stephen Maxym, and Thom de Klerk. One of Mr. Miller's educational activities, the Nordic Bassoon Symposium, begun in 1984 as the John Miller Bassoon Symposium, has attracted an international mix of hundreds of professional, student, and amateur bassoonists. Another, the Minnesota Bassoon Association, formed in 1983, presents bassoon related events, and has brought most of the world's prominent bassoonists to the Twin Cities area. In 2012 he joined with several local musicians to found the Minnesota Bach Ensemble, a small group dedicated to performing the music of J.S.Bach.