Mark Gresham | 27 OCT 2022
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.
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. ■