tags: Mellissa Hughes


Friday, April 20th, 2012


We finish off the Festival with a tour-de-force of new works for large and small ensembles featuring SIGNAL, called “one of the most vital groups of its kind” by the New York Times, and led by the phenomenally astonishing conductor Brad Lubman. MATA presents the final commission of 2012: a large-scale work by Francesco Filidei, a Paris-based Italian composer who is taking Europe by storm. Also featured: the vicious, heart-stopping Viola Quartet by Eric Wubbels, David Coll’s Position,Influence for soprano and electronics based on the speeches of Charles de Gaulle, Alex Freeman’s gorgeous work for solo Kantele (the Finnish folk instrument, played by Eva Alkula, who swoops in from Finland especially for this performance);and the Spanish-based Mexican composer Ivan Orozco’s glittering, salsa-influenced work for player piano and live pianist (the inimitable Kathleen Supové).

This evening will be hosted by Q2 Music’s Nadia Sirota 


Jacob Cooper, Tryptich III: Alla stagion dei fior (2012), video

Eric Wubbels, Viola Quartet (2007)

Francesco Filidei, Ballata n.2, MATA Commission (2012) World Premiere SIGNAL Ensemble

David Coll, Position, Influence (2010), for soprano and electronics. Mellissa Hughes, voice.

Alex Freeman, Magnolia (2002), for kantele. Eva Alkula, kantele.

Ivan Ferrer-Orozco, Traces IV: Anamnesis (2009), for piano and tape. Kathleen Supove, piano.

April 19 RESPONSIBLE PARTIES II: composer/performers today

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The second evening of the Festival is a stunning collection of composer/performers and is highlighted by two works that deal with large-scale installations as sculptural elements and massive hand-constructed instruments: Cecilia Lopez’s Mechanical Music for Sheet Metal and Eli Kezler’s Cold Pin, using a monumental collection of piano mechanisms taken apart and re-organized as a motorized, whirring, machine – in both cases, live musicians resonate and play against these giant structures. Matt Marks presents a sneak preview of his new pop opera on love and religion in America, The Little Death: Vol. 2, with Mellissa Hughes; and Kate Soper presents her gripping ten-minute microdrama, Only the words themselves mean what they say. Jacob Cooper presents the second installation of his newly-created video work, Triptych: II. Black or White.

This evening will be hosted by Q2 Music’s Mary Rowell


Jacob Cooper, Triptych: II. Black or White

Cecilia Lopez, Mechanical Music for Sheet Metal

Kate Soper, Only the words themselves mean what they say

Lesley Flanigan, from AMPLIFICATIONS

Matt Marks, sneak preview of The Little Death: Vol. 2 with Mellissa Hughes

Eli Keszler, Cold Pin with loadbang

Mellissa Hughes

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Hailed by Alex Ross of The New Yorker as “riveting,” and Time Out New York as a “dazzling diva, adept at old and new music,” soprano Mellissa Hughes enjoys a busy career in both contemporary and early music. A dedicated interpreter of living composers, Ms. Hughes has collaborated with Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Steve Reich, Neil Rolnick, and has premiered works written expressly for her by Caleb Burhans, Missy Mazzoli, Ted Hearne, Jacob Cooper, Matt Marks, Corey Dargel, David T. Little and Frederic Rzewski.

In the classical concert hall she has sung Mozart’s Vespers and Requiem under the baton of Sir Neville Marriner, Handel’s Dixit Dominus with Sir David Willcocks, and the title role in Dido and Aeneas under the direction of Andrew Lawrence King. Equally at home in front of a rock band, Ms. Hughes is lead vocalist of Newspeak, an amplified alt-classical band created by composer David T. Little.

Recent highlights include the world premiere of Alex Temple’s Liebeslied with George Manahan and the American Composers Orchestra at Zankel Hall for the opening of the SONiC Festival; a performance of Jonathan Berger’s song cyle Theotokia with the St. Lawrence String Quartet and Pedja Muzijevic for Stanford Lively Arts; a Weill Hall performance and Naxos recording of Mohammed Fairouz’s Tahwidah with the clarinetist David Krakauer; Bryce and Aaron Dessner’s multimedia song cycle The Long Count at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam for the Holland Festival; the US premiere of Adrian Utley and Will Gregory’s score for The Passion of Joan Arc as part of Lincoln Center’s 2011 White Light Festival; and featured solos in the May 2011 Carnegie Hall Dawn Upshaw/Donnacha Dennehy Workshop, for which Steve Smith wrote in the New York Times: “the standout was the versatile soprano Mellissa Hughes, whose dynamic singing and theatrical flair in the concluding song, ‘The Last Toast,’ made for an extravagant star turn.”

Upcoming dates include the world premiere of David T. Little’s Am I Born, a solo orchestral work written for Ms. Hughes, commissioned by the Brooklyn Philharmonic for Alan Pierson’s inaugural season as Music Director; and performances of David Coll’s Position, Influence and Matt Marks’s Christian nihilist pop-opera The Little Death, Vol. II for the MATA Festival.

Ms. Hughes’s discography includes releases on Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, and Bang on A Can’s Cantaloupe Music. As a New Amsterdam Artist, Ms. Hughes is heard on many critically acclaimed albums, including Matt Marks’s The Little Death: Vol.1; Newspeak’s Sweet Light Crude; and the debut release of Missy Mazzoli’s band, Victoire’s Cathedral City.

Renowned for her flexible vocal technique and collaborative artistry, Ms. Hughes has provided supporting vocals for My Brightest Diamond, The Roots, The National and The Breeders, and performs regularly with Alarm Will Sound, Clarion Music Society, Vox Vocal Ensemble, Ensemble Signal, AXIOM Ensemble, Ensemble ACJW, Ensemble de Sade, for Trinity Wall Street and the Wordless Music series. She holds degrees from Westminster Choir College, Princeton University and Yale University.