Post-minimalist composer Marc mellits. (source:

EARPIECE #17: Music of Marc Mellits

Mark Gresham | 27 OCT 2022

Earpiece is a series of audio and video presentations curated by EarRelevant’s publisher and principal writer Mark Gresham.

Chicago-based composer Marc Mellits is one of the most performed living composers in the United States. His largely post-minimalist style is eclectic and colorful, with visceral driving rhythms that give it a consistent sense of forward motion. He is often a miniaturist, composing works involving short, contrasting movements or sections (e.g. Splinter).

Mellits’ music has been performed and commissioned by major ensembles from across the globe, such as Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Canadian Brass, Nexus Percussion, Debussy Quartet, Third Coast Percussion. Mellits also directs and plays keyboards in his own ensemble, the Mellits Consort.

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Mellits also has strong connections to Atlanta through family and colleagues. For a while in the last decade, he was getting a lot of performances in the city through various new music ensembles.

For example, in a 2014 concert by Sonic Generator at the now defunct Erickson Click, flutist Jessica Sherwood was featured in the world premiere of Mellits’ Chatter Box, accompanied by Tom Sherwood on a set of electronic audio “stack boxes” created by Andrew Beck. (See the second video in the playlist below.) Sonic Generator, in its day, actively championed his music, which has also received enthusiastic performances by other local area groups, such as Chamber Cartel, Bent Frequency, neoPhonia, and Clibber Jones Ensemble.

Given the many changes in such groups will be interesting to see how and whether Mellits’ music reemerges post-pandemic to the same degree of prominence in Atlanta. Here’s a video playlist of four works by Mellits drawn from across the YouTube universe.

View the video playlist below. Note: YouTube videos are embedded in accordance with the YouTube TOS.

MUSIC OF MARC MELLITS (5 VIDEOS). Total duration: 47:57

Marc MELLITS: Machine IV
Performed by Kluster5
January 24, 2016
(broadcast date)
Bimhuis Amsterdam (VPRO Vrije Geluiden),
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 3:43
Marc MELLITS: Stick (2010)
Performed by Chris Sies, percussion
Mar 20, 2020 (YouTube post date)
Duration: 4:42
Marc MELLITS: Gravity
Performed by Clocks in Motion
January 23, 2015 (YouTube post date)
based in Madison, Wisconsin – USA
Duration: 10:43
Marc MELLITS: Splinter (2014)
Performed by Akropolis Reed Quintet
August 31, 2016
(web premiere)
based in Northville, Michigan – USA
Duration: 15:57
Marc MELLITS: Chatter Box
Performed by Sonic Generator
May 14, 2014 (world premiere)
Erickson Clock
Atlanta, Georgia – USA
Duration: 12:39


Marc Mellits:
Clocks in Motion:
Akropolis Reed Quintet:

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Mark Gresham

Mark Gresham is publisher and principal writer of EarRelevant. he began writing as a music journalist over 30 years ago, but has been a composer of music much longer than that. He was the winner of an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for music journalism in 2003.