Al Miner, manager of the Juilliard Bookstore from March 1992 until his retirement in July 2010, died on November 18 following a brave battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Adriana, and his daughter, Lydia.
Born on August 13, 1943, in New York City, Miner received a B.A. in romance literature and languages from Fordham University and continued his studies at Ca’ Foscari University and New York University. He spent more than four decades in the book and music business, initially in the private sector and then managing academic stores, including those at N.Y.U., the University Medical and Dental School of New Jersey, and Juilliard. He was a passionate and effective advocate for the Juilliard bookstore at a time when many independent shops closed and were replaced by impersonal megastores. Under his leadership, the Juilliard store became an oasis for musicians and arts aficionados, who found it increasingly difficult to find places to browse and select scores, sheet music, and arts books. Miner was instrumental in planning the temporary bookstore during Juilliard’s recent renovation, making that as successful a transition as possible for its staff and customers, while simultaneously helping to plan the new store, which he unfortunately never got to see.
“His knowledge of music and literature was prodigious,” Frank Corsaro, formerly the artistic director of the Juilliard Opera Center and now professor emeritus, said in remarks that were read at Miner’s memorial mass. “He would often sing in a slightly off-key voice from anything by Schubert to everything by Verdi. When I asked him once what his own private ambition had been, he surprised me by saying he wanted to be a poet. Even working in the arts, I’d never known anyone who wanted to be a poet. But the necessities of life did not help his desire. He became one of the best heads of a bookstore of the arts that I’ve ever met.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
March 30, 2011
An earlier version of this article indicated that Frank Corsaro read his own remarks at the memorial mass, which was not the case. Al Miner's daughter, Lydia, read them on Corsaro's behalf.