Facebook Post from Gerhardt Zimmermann
"If you want to know what the human spirit really is, you must, Yes - Must come to the Z tonight to hear a phenomenal world premiere that will put tears in your eyes. Symphony No. IIII by Stephen Melillo is a very powerful work. I am not embarrassed to admit that when I saw the score for the first time, I was in tears. What a powerful and moving work. It was commissioned by the Canton Symphony Orchestra for the 25th anniversary of the ADA (American Disabilities Act). Your soul will be opened." Gerhardt Zimmermann
Excerpt from 30 November 2015 Review by Tom Wachunas
“This was the world premiere of Symphony llll, Lightfall, by American composer Stephen Melillo. Scored for full orchestra, the work is in three movements and was commissioned by Gerhardt Zimmermann for this occasion.
The thematic scope of Lightfall is well-captured in Melillo’s words, “In Dedication to: Those who forever choose to look up and embrace the wonder-filled Universe and the Joy of Life.” It is a marvelous object lesson in blending Romantic classicism with contemporary, even cinematic sensibilities. From the brassy chaos and thunder of the first movement to the haunting lyricism of the second and the triumphal optimism of the finale, there is a kinship in Melillo’s writing to Mahler’s penchant for fusing the sublime with the banal, the ethereal with the mundane.
Additionally, Melillo’s robust invocation of victory over adversity was an especially appropriate fit with the themes of cathartic love and apotheosis so powerfully articulated in the evening’s final selection, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. Here was the CSO at its electrifying best.”
To see the full review:
FOREVER STRONG Press Release
A “Visually Scored” Portrayal of the USS Indianapolis Story, Forever Strong!
Marks the 70th Anniversary Salute to Her Survivors
PRESS RELEASE – On July 30, 1945 the USS Indianapolis, a flagship of the United States Navy’s WWII battles across the Central Pacific, was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy, sinking in 12 minutes. To mark the 70th anniversary salute to her survivors, a “Visually Scored” portrayal of the USS Indianapolis Story, Forever Strong!, by composer Stephen Melillo, has been released by STORMWORKS®, and has been placed on the ballot for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.
The USS Indianapolis and 880 of her crew never did physically return to San Francisco’s Golden Gate; their last view of American soil before embarking upon that final mission. The photos of lost crewman Alfred Joseph Sedivi, the ship’s photographer whose works survived because he secretly sent them home to his family, vividly bring to life the crew of the ship they affectionately called “the Indy Maru” along with treasured pictures donated by veterans and an original painting created by artist Irene Krauß in Forever Strong!
Forever Strong! paints a moving tribute to the brave crew as vivid swells and crescendos of Melillo’s music wash over the listener. “In Heaven and in our hearts,” says Melillo, “the ship and her crew will always be coming home to loving, waiting arms. With that message and in that purpose, this work is lovingly offered.”
The story of the USS Indianapolis became part of American film culture when actor Robert Shaw delivered one of the greatest monologues in history, based on actual survivor accounts, in the 1975 film Jaws in which his character gives a gripping account of his experience as one of the few surviving sailors of the ship.
The premiere screening of Forever Strong! took place at the official USS Indianapolis Survivors Reunion on July 26, 2015. The full “Visually Scored” 33:17 is available for purchase at: https://www.createspace.com/452456. For the Audio version, it may be found at CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/stephenmelillo5
To keep posted on this new work please like STORMWORKS® on Facebook: facebook.com/Stormworks.
About: Pulitzer Prize nominated composer Stephen Melillo whose 1117 plus works have been heard in every corner of the globe and have been played by countless agencies from Nintendo to The Dutch Royal Military Band created Forever Strong!, a Tribute to the USS Indianapolis, with the talent of the following musicians: Adelmo Guidarelli, The San Diego Jewish Men's Choir conducted by Ruth Weber, The Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy conducted by Peter Kleine Schaars, The Rundfunk Blasorchester Leipzig, and The Stormworks Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stephen Melillo. He dedicates this work to the families of those Lost at Sea, to the Survivors of the USS Indianapolis CA-35, to their families, friends and to all who support them, and to those currently serving in the Defense of Freedom...
Reaction to SYMPHONY IIII Commission
"Steve: I’m sitting here crying like a baby, listening to your 3rd movement. Such powerful music you have composed for us.
Thank you - Thank You - THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.
May I call you around 1:30 PM. I need to get a hold of myself. You, my friend, have touched a very dark place within me.
Best Always and Love,"
NUMMER 183 MITTWOCH, 10. AUGUST 2011
"After music for the tapping feet (composer name) and for the head (composer name), the next part of the body after the intermission was the heart. Under Melillo’s baton, who conducted the world premiere of five new works, there was emotion pure, not only in conducting and in music, but also in the composer’s presentation. A treatment of the spiritual "Were You There?" was without further ado dedicated to a boy from the Allgäu region, who died in autumn 2009, only seven years old.
Melillo, who names his compositions for band, "Stormworks" and collects them into "Chapters," dedicated his recent "Chapter 21: Won Way" to Roberto Clemente. This former baseball player was the first Hispanic in this profession who gained national fame. He died 40 years ago during a self organized relief-action for earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Melillo and the band found very well together in this one week. The "Function Chorales," developed by Melillo had a very good impact on the band’s intonation. Incited by Melillo’s art of motivation one experienced a totally relieved way of making music, honored by very long applause.
Joachim Buch (his own translation form the original German Article. Concert on 6 August 2011, concluding one week at the Bavarian Music Academy in Marktoberdorf, Germany)
“There are a bunch of children in Haiti who are seeing the profits of your Music."
“I sit back in a studio. There are others around me. Our eyes are focused on a viewing screen and our ears poised. The two tapes roll. A video and a film score from you. What takes place has to be called a miracle. We are pulled here, then yanked back, thrown into despair then lifted back on to our feet and beyond, far far beyond. The score is beautiful Steve. More than I could have hoped for. What a triumph! I thank you.”
“He could become the Leonard Bernstein of this age... Everything he creates has many layers, ranging from synchronicity to the significance of numbers, from visceral emotions to the brotherhood of mankind... his ability to create a mood, find precisely the right touch of drama and create the needed effect was manifest... the sustained chords in the choir, the timpani’s roar, the harp’s glissandos. Melillo used them all with a sense of absolute rightness and the result was fresh, joyful and exciting... each measure scored with an unerring ear for drama and emotion.”
North Carolina Symphony Conductor
“His is a new voice in the direction of music, his sound – a bridge between the serious and the immediately visceral.”
San Luis Obispo
“Melillo is to wind music what Beethoven was to the symphony orchestra, and he follows a Beethovenesque design of increasing the musical tension almost to the breaking point, receding, and then reaching again. It is superlative musical craftsmanship and inspiring to hear.”
“His S-MATRIX Symphony was fabulous, full of childlike wonderment as the composer intended and marvelous sounds. And they worked to maximum effect — a brilliant, original use of orchestral resources for a sophisticated, sensational, beautiful and satisfying experience.”