Music faculty from Northwestern State University, Louisiana Tech and the University of Louisiana-Monroe will collaborate in a concert featuring the music of composer Mark Mellits on Tuesday, August 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. Those attending are asked to follow university regulations and to wear a mask. A livestream will be available at capa.nsula.edu/livestream.
Northwestern State faculty Paul Christopher, Sofio Tchetchelashvili, John Price, Kelsey McDonald, Leah Forsyth, Malena McLaren, Douglas Bakenhus, Kristine Coreil and Oliver Molina will be joined by Gregory Lyons and Trevor Davis of Louisiana Tech, Joe W. Moore of ULM and Louisiana-based guitarist and music producer Dan Sumner in the concert.
The program will include the world premiere of Mellits’ work “Mercury Silver” with Molina playing steel pan. The concert also includes “Black” with Molina and Moore on marimbas, “Dark Matter” with Christopher on cello, “Mara’s Lullaby” with Tchetchelashvili on viola and Price on piano. Also to be performed are “Apollo” with McDonald on flute, Forsyth on oboe, McLaren on clarinet, Bakenhus on bassoon and Coreil on horn and “Smoke” with Davis on saxophones, Sumner on guitars, Lyons on marimba and Molina on drum set and marimba.
Mellits is one of the leading American composers of his generation, enjoying hundreds of performances throughout the world every year, making him one of the most performed living composers in the United States. From Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, to prestigious music festivals in Europe and the U.S., Mellits’ music is a constant mainstay on programs throughout the world. His unique musical style is an eclectic combination of driving rhythms, soaring lyricism and colorful orchestrations that all combine to communicate directly with the listener. Mellits’ music is often described as being visceral, making a deep connection with the audience. “This was music as sensual as it was intelligent; I saw audience members swaying, nodding, making little motions with their hands” (New York Press). He started composing very early and was writing piano music long before he started formal piano lessons at age six. He went on to study at the Eastman School of Music, Yale School of Music, Cornell University and Tanglewood. Mellits often is a miniaturist, composing works that are comprised of short, contrasting movements or sections. His music is eclectic, all-encompassing, colorful and always has a sense of forward motion.
Mellits’ music has been played by major ensembles across the globe and he has been commissioned by groups such as the Kronos Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Holland), Duo Assad, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Eliot Fisk, Canadian Brass, Nexus Percussion, Debussy Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Real Quiet, New Music Detroit, Four-In-Correspondence (National Symphony Orchestra), Musique En Roue Libre (France), Fiarì Ensemble (Italy), Percussions Claviers de Lyon (France), Talujon, the Society for New Music, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Albany Symphony’s Dog’s Of Desire. Additionally, Mellits’ music has been performed, toured, and/or recorded by members of the Detroit Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Minneapolis Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, eighth blackbird, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New Millennium Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, and the American Modern Ensemble, among many others.
On film, Mellits has composed numerous scores, including the PBS mini-series “Beyond The Light Switch” which won a 2012 Dupont-Columbia award, the most prestigious award in documentaries.