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Leon Kirchner
Mills College, a school without walls
Mills College, a school without walls

For the last seven decades, Mills College, which will celebrate the renovation of its gorgeous Spanish-style concert hall with a gala concert Feb. 21, has provided a haven for a remarkable number of cutting-edge composers. No matter how academically unsuitable some might have seemed, they have flocked to its manicured sylvan campus tucked behind the intersection of two ugly freeways in a nondescript section of the Oakland foothills. And whether or not anyone has noticed, they have broken new ground. Usually, no one has noticed. That's why small but important pieces of the complex puzzle of 20th and 21st century music are still missing from the history books. One of those I learned...

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