“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.” Marvin Sosna, Music Critic
“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.” Nancy R. Ping-Robbins, Music Critic
“...a new voice in the direction of music, his sound – a bridge between the serious and the immediately visceral.” Maestro Gerhardt Zimmerman, Conductor
“...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.” John S. Sweeney, Music Critic
“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.” John S. Sweeney, Music Critic
BIO by DR. James McCrann, MJ Hudson & Michael Ashby
Click here for a more thorough Personal History & Bio.
Please search "Digital Libretti" for liner notes and more.
Stephen's Symphony IIII: Lightfall, was nominated for the Pulitzer and Nemmers Prize in Music. Winner of three 2009 Telly & Ava Awards for his 2005 Visualized Concert, Kakehashi: THAT WE MIGHT LIVE, Stephen's concert-version was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. A 4th Telly Award was for “Best Use of Music” in the 2019 feature film, “One Little Finger” produced by Rupam Sarmah. A 5th Telly Award included Stephen’s work on the 2019 “Reckoning of Darkness” produced by Christopher Kulikowski. His 15 feature film scores include the Oscar-nominated “12:01PM” and the horror thriller, “The Unwilling”, both directed by Jonathan Heap. An ASCAP Concert Awards recipient each year since 1992, Stephen's more than 1200 works include 4 symphonies, several concerti and over 38-hours of Music for Ensembles of the 3rd Millennium™. The most recent STORMWORKS Chapter 55 Album: Way of the Wanderer was recorded by Das Musikkorps der Bundeswehr. With 28 CDs and 7 books on iTunes, most recently, Ahab, a Love Story, and simply by word-of-mouth, Stephen's pioneering, self-publishing entity known as STORMWORKS has gone from 0 to many thousands of worldwide renderings since 1992.
Music by Stephen Melillo has been played and recorded by some of the World’s finest ensembles and conductors. More than 1,190 works span from the IBM Thinkpad® Demo to the Concerto for Violin & Orchestra. Currently, 178 commissions, representing 304 movements for Ensembles of the 3rd Millennium™ comprise the body of recorded work called STORMWORKS.
ASCAP continues each year since 1992 to recognize Stephen’s work with Special Awards in Concert Music. In 2005, his Documentary in Music, Kakehashi: THAT WE MIGHT LIVE was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Marking 60 years since the end of WWII, this 70-minute work involved an unprecedented gesture in Music-making and made International History. Inspired by and dedicated to the Survivors of the Bataan Death March, Kakehashi was recorded by an ensemble of American Choruses from Shenandoah and Old Dominion Universities in Virginia, and 143 world-class Japanese Military Musicians specially appointed for this historic occasion by the Japanese Ministry of Defense. In 2008, this same work won two Telly Film Awards for History/Biography and Music Concert. It also won an AVA (Audio Visual Association) Award that same year.
In 1992, Stephen’s innovation in self-publishing and digital music dissemination, known as STORMWORKS, established a modern precedent in international Music publishing. This process is virtually imitated now by every publisher and composer.
STORMWORKS is represented online and via store dealerships in the United States and throughout 28 European and Asian countries.
You will find Stephen’s scoring work in 17 feature films and 28 network television programs, and in the 1991 Academy Award-nominated movie 12:01 PM starring Kurtwood Smith. In the early 1990’s Stephen composed game music for Nintendo, Sega-Genesis, and others through his affiliation with Absolute Entertainment. His work in this field, presented at the 1993 and 1994 NAMM conventions positioned him as a pioneer for a completely new generation of “film-scoring” approaches to game-music.
During the scoring of 12:01PM, Stephen authored and implemented Music To Picture, a hands-on curriculum establishing, in 1991, the film-scoring program at the State University of New York at Purchase.
The 1992 premiere of Stephen Melillo’s S-MATRIX Symphony # Numberless, conducted by Maestro Gerhardt Zimmerman with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, received the first standing ovation in the 40-year History of the Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. During intermission, a delighted Maestro Zimmerman commissioned Stephen’s Symphony #2: At Life’s Edge, which premiered in 1996. Maestro Zimmerman has since commissioned SYMPHONY IIII: Lightfall, which in 2017, was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music.
As the creator of MIDIMAST, (MIDI-Music, Mathematics, Science & Technology) sponsored by the Ford and Carnegie Foundations and the New York Academy of Science, Mr. Melillo trained 275 New York City Mathematics & Science teachers in the early 1980s while demonstrating a quantifiably improved understanding of mathematics and science via music composition. Case studies included numerous classes with K-6 students from Harlem, Spanish Harlem, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens.
His scoring techniques, orchestration and recording practices with the modern Wind Ensemble have been the subject of several Doctoral dissertations in America, Europe, and Asia. Many of the World’s finest ensembles and conductors continue to employ his innovative strategies and instrumentation. Many of Stephen’s students now enjoy musical careers as professionals in an eclectic range, employed as teachers, recording artists, television and studio musicians and members of major symphony orchestras.
At the time of this entry on 3 March 2019, Stephen has 17 years of experience teaching in the public schools, 44 years as an international guest conductor, and 49 years as a practitioner of the Chinese martial art. Stephen’s ability to communicate musically comes from an extensive knowledge base. From beginning instrumental students to Musicians employed by the Rotterdam and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, Stephen has worked with a vast array of multinational students aged 4-87. Such diverse experience spans teaching Braille-reading music students at Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts to sharing close-quarter defense techniques with several styles of international martial artists, including a detachment of Green Berets stationed in Mansfield, Connecticut during the late 1970s.
Stephen studied conducting with Jens Nygaard and Attilio Poto, a student of Arturo Toscanini. Varied educators, conductors, and commissioning parties have termed Stephen Melillo’s work “a new voice in the direction of music.” In addition to film work, more than 176 live concert premieres include:
- Last World Standing: HEROES of PEACE, rendered by the Sinfonischen Blasorcehesters Ried in the Brucknerhaus, Linz, Austria. Karl Geroldinger & Stephen Melillo conducting.
- STORMQUEST: rendered by The Western Michigan University Studio Winds, produced by Dr. Robert L. Spradling, Stephen Melillo conducting.
- STORMJOURNEYS: rendered by The Rundfunk Blasorchester Leipzig & Orchestra di Fiati Della Valtellina, Stephen Melillo conducting.
- STORMWORKS Chapter 0: WALK on the WATER, rendered by The Dutch Royal Military Band in Rotterdam, Stephen Melillo conducting.
- STORMWORKS Chapter 1: WITHOUT WARNING, rendered by combined Musicians from the US Army, Navy and Air Force, Stephen Melillo conducting.
- STORMWORKS Chapter 1-Prime: WISH to the WORLD, rendered by Troy University Wind Symphony, Ralph Ford & Stephen Melillo conducting.
- STORMWORKS Chapter 2: WENDE, rendered by The Rundfunk Blasorchester Leipzig in Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, Stephen Melillo conducting.
- STORMWORKS Chapter 3: WAIT of the WORLD, rendered by The Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Maurice Hamers conducting.
- STORMWORKS Chapters 5 & 8: WRITINGS on the WALL, rendered by 143 Musicians of the Japanese Military and The Central Band of Japan Self Defense Force with choruses from Shenandoah & Old Dominion Universities in Tokyo, Japan, Stephen Melillo conducting.
- STORMWORKS Chapter 13: WHISPERS on the WIND, rendered by Troy University Wind Symphony, Ralph Ford & Stephen Melillo conducting.
- STORMWORKS Chapter 21: WON WAY, rendered by the Sinfonischen Blasorcehesters Ried in the Brucknerhaus, Linz, Austria. Karl Geroldinger conducting.
- STORMWORKS Chapter 55: WAY of the WANDERER, rendered by Das Musikkorps der Bundeswehr. Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Scheibling conducting.
- MUSASHI & WAIT of the WORLD rendered by The Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra in Tokyo, Japan, David Bostock conducting.
- The Concerto for Violin, rendered by The Sudwind Orchester from Germany, Stephen Melillo conducting.
- S-MATRIX & Symphony #2: At Life’s Edge, and Symphony IIII: Lightfall, rendered by The North Carolina and Canton Symphony Orchestras, Gerhardt Zimmerman conducting.
Stephen’s 1976 composition, After the Storm, was played to a television audience of over 2 million as the concluding work in Singapore’s 2005 salute to “Building a New Future.” In December of 2011, Stephen’s tribute to Roberto Clemente, 21 WON WAY was nationally televised in Spain.
In addition to numerous guest conducting assignments around the world, Stephen has also made Music with the following US All-State Bands: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Dakota (2x), New Mexico (2x), and New York.
Stephen attended the University of Connecticut at Storrs in 1976, the Manhattan School of Music in NYC in 1979, and holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Massachusetts in 1980 and a Masters in Music and Conducting from Columbia University, New York in 1982.
Film & TV Scores include: (to name a few)
- One Little Finger
- Reckoning of Darkness
- The Unwilling
- 12:01 PM (OSCAR Nomination, Best Live Action Short)
- PBS Teledrama: Actress Works (EMMY Nomination for PBS Teleplay)
- Unsung Heroes (NYPD Documentary)
- Crossing the Line
- Gypsy Girl
- Benefit of the Doubt
- Basque Legacy
- They Bite
- Hollywood Showcase
- The Newlyweds
- Music for STAR SEARCH
- Music for WNEW Radio
- ABC Life Goes On
- ABC Sunday Night Movie
- ABC All My Children
- ABC General Hospital
- ABC Business World
- ABC America's Funniest Videos
- ABC American Music Awards
- ABC Doogie Howser, MD
- ABC Going to Extremes
- ABC Good Morning America
- ABC Home Improvement
- ABC Jack's Place
- ABC Loving
- ABC Matlock
- ABC Nightline
- ABC One Life to Live
- ABC Primetime Live
- ABC Sunday Night Movie
- ABC The Commish
- ABC This Week With David Brinkley
- ABC World News Now
- ABC World News Sunday
- ABC 20/20
- NBC The Fresh Prince
- NBC Special: Fairgame
- NBC Movie of the Week
- NBC Night Court
- Nickelodeon Adventures of Pete
- Mr. Ed's Corral
- Real Kids
- A Cold Night
- A Horse of Her Own
- Dark Reflection
- Various Cable & Industrial Projects Including Music for Sega, Super-Nintendo & IBM
- Commercial Soundtracks, including Music for the NY Nets, Yankees & Giants
Novels & Books
- Ahab, a Love Story (Novel and Original Screenplay)
- Only for Now
- Nogard & Dragon
- Music to Picture
- Ways of Knowing
- Boat Build 2013
Stephen Melillo is a Member of
- ASCAP, American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers
- ASMAC, American Society of Music Arrangers & Composers
- NARAS, National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences, and Voting Member of the Grammys
- USPA, United Parachute Association
- Knights of Columbus
- Honorary Member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Delta Sigma Iota
“Take a deep breath. Now: Listen to the creation of the world as seen by Stephen Melillo, a composer who confesses his personal God-link in such works as GODSPEED and SPEECH OF ANGELS, each of which opened the two sections of the program. It was like this: a shattering of the former silence, and then an opening, an awakening of the spirit (in GODSPEED) after which a choir of sounds never heard before (SPEECH OF ANGELS) brings a message of comfort and hope. 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." Marvin Sosna, Special to The Tribune
"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
"Since we met Stephen Melillo 11 years ago my orchestra and me are inspired by his emotional music touching the hearts. We played some of his great pieces in our concerts and felt the power of his music occupying us and our audience. You cannot play Steve's music without being involved with heart and soul - Music from Stephen Melillo is like an earthquake and a prayer in equal time." Karl Geroldinger, Conductor, Sinfonichen Blasorchester Ried
"With over 30 hours of internationally championed commissions, Stephen's groundbreaking Music for Ensembles of the 3rd Millennium™ offers inspiring new choices from beginners to pros. "Melillo is one of the truly few creative, pioneering composers of Music for our ensembles. Over the past 22 years, his Music and methods have been regularly imitated, his many tangible influences on the publishing world significant, and all while working 'outside' the system. As a modern, musical David, he has not defeated any Goliath, but Goliath is singing a different tune! And these Musical journeys are enhanced by effective Teaching Tools with Stephen's direct support." Jochen Lorenz, Musikschulleiter, Dirigent, Diplom Musiklehrer
"Without reservation, Stephen Melillo is the most notable composer in our music profession today. His compositions are unique in every way. The depth and passion that surrounds his beautiful melodic lines supported by elevating harmonic colors, and rhythmic intensity surpasses all musical expectations. Stephen Melillo's compositions, unlike any others, shape the musical truth and integrity of artistic expression." Edward S. Lisk, Clinician, Conductor, Author, Oswego, NY
"The ultimate joy of Your Music ( for me) is that it carries in it, not only Your DNA, but it also encompasses the rich music history and emotion of the great, Russian, Austrian and German composers who have gone before you. Each of Your compositions is a magnificent tapestry... of past & present... for the future." Meredith Hudson, Vocalist & Teacher
Excerpt from Article as it Appeared in Hampton University Press by Matthew Smith 22 February 2002
“If a jaw drops in an auditorium, and the person is too awestruck to notice, did it really happen? This is a most welcome paradox affecting those who attended composer Stephen Melillo’s seminar “Correlations between Music, Mathematics, and Physics” on February 19th in Dett Auditorium.
This past November, Steve included Hampton University band members in two of three videos in his Teaching Suite: “Let’s Find Out – Strategies for the Music Educator.” Amazingly, he teaches students how to teach themselves all 15 major scales (“and much more”) perfectly in 15 minutes, and also how to read and write any rhythm in the span of one lesson period. For anyone unfamiliar with these concepts, the teaching techniques he uses are truly revolutionary.
In short, at the conclusion of the event, Mr. Melillo was honored with a lengthy standing ovation, and everyone in attendance agreed that he should become a Teacher at Hampton. We hope to have Stephen Melillo back on campus again soon, but until then, please visit his incredible website: www.stormworld.com, and as Steve would say, ‘Godspeed!’”
Excerpt from “What It Means to be Caught in the Storm (2013)”, by Russell Maclin, Cellist and senior at Central Bucks South HS, PA
“Enter STORMWORKS: Quite suddenly, though, I have found myself initiated into the Third Millennium, which is quite possibly the most momentous—derived here from “momentum”—community I have ever witnessed: altogether without physical boundaries, the Third Millennium is connected by a common philosophy and purpose; it is sustained by pure momentum without any forced connection. It has a language all its own, a history all its own (our fledging membership is proceeded by decades of experiences before us), and a philosophy that is in stark contrast to the normal, tepid maxims fed to schoolchildren. And the originality and driving force behind this language, history, and philosophy create a legacy of energy so sweeping that those dedicated to membership are swept along—in effect, “Stormworks” is exceptionally literal: those who take part in this body of work are swept into a cerebral, philosophical, and communal storm… and I love the storm that is engulfing us all. A storm without sides, without limits; a storm that has lasted for over two decades, silently smoldering in the background of society, ready to jump to flame anywhere around the globe—a universal storm that shocks everyone in its range with lightning that reaches into the Romantic depths of passion, commitment, and idealism…”