Indiana State University Newsroom

Composer Marc Mellits headlines Contemporary Music Festival

October 19, 2018

Acclaimed composer Marc Mellits will headline Indiana State University's 52nd annual Contemporary Music Festival, Oct. 24-26.

A notable event of its kind in the United States, the festival is constructed to be an educational event, combining outreach to public schools, educational sessions, and multiple performances. All events are free to the public.

Special guests include orchestra composition contest winner, Roger Zare and music educator and composer, Jeff Frizzi. The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the orchestra-in-residence, will also be featured on the Thursday, Oct. 25, concert.

"School children, university students and community members all have an opportunity to learn about a prominent, living, professional composer and to explore music being written today," said Kurt Fowler, artistic director for the festival. "They explore the process of creating great works of music, discuss the importance of new music, and hear new music come alive in performance."

Composer Marc Mellits is one of the leading American composers of his generation, enjoying hundreds of performances throughout the world every year, making him one of the most performed living composers in the United States. From Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to prestigious music festivals in Europe and the U.S., Mellits' music is a constant mainstay on programs throughout the world.

Mellits' music has been played by major ensembles across the globe and he has been commissioned by groups such as the Kronos Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Holland), Duo Assad, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Eliot Fisk, Canadian Brass, Nexus Percussion, Debussy Quartet, Real Quiet, New Music Detroit, Four-In-Correspondence (National Symphony Orchestra), Musique En Roue Libre (France), Fiarì Ensemble (Italy), Percussions Claviers de Lyon (France), Third Coast Percussion, Talujon, the Society for New Music, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Albany Symphony's Dogs of Desire.

Out of a total of 13 events, six concerts will be presented. Nine works by Mellits will be performed throughout the festival.

The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, comprised of 34 professional musicians, has been the festival orchestra-in-residence since 2007. The orchestra will be featured on the Thursday, Oct. 25th concert. Their involvement with the festival is in keeping with their mission to promote music composed for small orchestra through professional concert performances and educational programs.

Since its inception in 1967, the Contemporary Music Festival has hosted some of the most important composers of contemporary classical music including 18 Pulitzer Prize winners. It is one of the longest-running contemporary music festivals in the nation. This year's festival is made possible by the support provided from Arts Illiana, the Indiana Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, Inc., the Office of Community Engagement and WFIU.

To see a complete schedule of events, visit

Admission to all events is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the School of Music at 812-237-2771.


Wednesday, Oct. 24

* 7:30 p.m. Concert: ISU Chamber Ensembles, University Hall Auditorium

Thursday, Oct. 25

* 10:30 a.m. Concert: ISU Student Performers and Composers Recital, Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Recital Hall

* 1:30 p.m. Session: Panel Discussion with Festival Guests, Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Recital Hall

* 7:30 p.m. Concert: The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Tirey Hall, Tilson Auditorium

Friday, Oct. 26

* 10:30 a.m. Concert: Faculty Chamber Recital, Landini Center for Performing and Fine Arts, Recital Hall

* 7:30 p.m. Concert: Final Showcase Concert (student ensembles), Tirey Hall, Tilson Auditorium