Melly plays the American Songbook Series

Greetings from Down Under! I’m writing this from my sunny hotel room at the Adelaide Festival where I will perform in a little less than 48 hours with the rest of my fellow #zornstars. I wanted to take a moment to point you dear readers to some new interviews I’ve done to help promote my Lincoln Center solo recital on the American Songbook series. I’m absolutely elated to be performing on this series! To say it has been a learning experience is an understatement, and it’s been a great push to get me to write down some of the tunes the voices in my head have been singing for ages!

Last Tuesday I sat down in the studio of my park slope apartment and did a video interview for Lincoln Center. Also, during a layover in the Sydney airport, I penned the following very fun interview with THE CODA. You can read all about it here. I talk about music, Lincoln Center memories and who I would choose to be my desert island mate.

As for the show on the 20th, I plan on performing selections from Jacob Cooper’s newly announced NONESUCH album Silver Threads, (which you can pre-order now), and two pieces for multitracked soprano, or multi-melly; I Remember by Ted Hearne, and Requiem for K.V. by Chris Cerrone, who’s song cycle I Will Learn to Love a Person I had the privilege of performing last Thursday night at St. Anne’s. In addition to these pieces, I will perform some covers of favorite songs of mine and my own vocal improvisations with just voice and electronics.

I would love to see as many of you as I can on March 20th in the Kaplan Penthouse at 8pm! 

New York Times Zorn@60 Guggenheim Review

I can’t believe that this man is 60. Having recently spent a considerable amount of time with him, I can assure you he has more pep in his step than those half his age. Talk about an inspiration.

The New York Times review from the Guggenheim show is in, and survey says awesomesauce!! You can read the full review here. It’s been a crazy ride putting together Earthspirit and Madrigals and we’re about to tour all of Europe with Holy Visions, the piece he wrote for the Sapphites back in November.  So stay tuned for that! 



(How creepy do we look all in red and black!)

Here’s what the fabulous Steve Smith had to say about our singing:


The sopranos Mellissa Hughes and Jane Sheldon and the mezzo-soprano Kirsten Sollek sang sublimely, their precise pitch and clear tones shimmering and resonating in discordant harmonies and intricate metrical maneuvers.

Those singers and three more —  the sopranos Lisa Bielawa and Sarah Brailey, and the mezzo-soprano Abby Fischer —  brought the same exactitude and luster to “Madrigals,” for which Mr. Zorn assembled phrases inspired by reading Percy Bysshe Shelley. Harmonically consonant, often unambiguously melodic and rhythmically effervescent, these half-dozen songs could easily slip into standard repertory.


Needless to say, I’m pleased as punch. These are the hardest pieces I’ve attempted to learn in quite sometime. In fact, so hard, I dragged myself to Guitar Center to buy a keyboard, AND I’m rocking a nasty bruise on my left hand from whacking it with my tuning fork repeatedly. New music can be painful in a variety of ways it seems. 

Washington Post Review from Atlas Theater Show in DC with Newspeak


It’s been a really fun two weeks playing with Newspeak, one of my favorite bands, first at the Invisible Dog, and Friday at the Atlas Theater in DC, the latter was made even more awesome due to its proximity to Dangerously Delicious Pies.   We were rewarded with a fantastic review in the Washington Post! You can check out the full review here, but a few choice quotes:

In the tiny but essential niche of punk-classical music, Newspeak pretty much rules. Driving rhythms, sophisticated compositions by cutting-edge composers, virtuosic playing on electrified instruments — there’s little not to like about the New York-based ensemble

And about yours truly

Newspeak’s gutsy soprano Mellissa Hughes, leading the ensemble with fire and purpose, ratcheted the work to a wild, intoxicating pitch

June is busting out all over, and I’m busting out some Rzewski and Zorn!


Wanted to take a moment to point out some awesome shows that I have coming up. First up, Newspeak, my favorite punk-classical band is playing six shows this coming weekend. Inspired by letters from inmates of Attica pre the 1971 riots, Coming Together/Attica is one of Frederic Rzewski’s most powerful works. We are in collaboration with Rebecca Lazier, a choreographer who attended our Rzewski show 5 years ago and immediately had a vision for what she thought could be a truly powerful piece, and man, was she right. We’re finally performing all of Coming Together, which includes Attica, a truly gorgeous contrast to the raucousness of the first movement, and I’m so thrilled to be participating with these dancers! 
Six shows all together over three nights at the Invisible Dog
Thursday June 13th, 7pm, 9pm (TONIGHT!!!)
Friday June 14th, 7:30pm, 9:30pm
Saturday June 15th, 7:30pm, 9:30pm 
The show will run for 50 minutes. Tickets are a $20 suggested donation, and seating is limited, so if you want a spot, buy a ticket! If you’re interested in reading more about the show, Coming Together/Attica has been receiving some fabulous press. Excuse the link dump:
CultureBot (Best article title EVER)
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Ain’t we some sexy bitchez??
Attention fans in DC area, Newspeak is coming at you June 21st at the Atlas Theater!! The website has the wrong repertoire listed, but we are premiering a bunch of new works by Corey Dargel, Ruby Fulton, and Randy Woolf in addition to some old favorites by David T. Little, Caleb Burhans, and, just because we’re really good at it, Rzewski’s Coming Together.  Tickets are available HERE, and just because I still have your attention, it happens to be a Washington Post Critics Pick! 
Still with me? Hang in there, the end is near. 
John Zorn fans! I bring you tidings of great news, for lo and behold, I have been made a Daughter of Jerusalem! Mr. JZ is celebrating his 60th birthday this year, and what that means for me is a lot of traveling and singing some bad-ass-rock-your-face-off music. I have two shows coming up June 23rd and June 25th at 7:30pm in the Guggenheim Rotunda where the other Sapphic Sisters and I will premiere Earthspirit and Madrigals inside a James Turrell instillation! Tickets are available HERE

Concerts in March

Dearest friends!

First off, this Sunday I will be performing with one of my favorite new music bands, Alarm Will Sound. Although I’ve  known these folks for many years, and feel like an honorary member of their ensemble, this will be my first time soloing with the group. I’m so thrilled to take part in their John Cage show this Sunday afternoon at 3pm, at the Abrons Art Center where we will perform selections from Cage’s Song Books in addition to portions of  Atlas Elipticals, and Concert for Piano and Variations. Putting this together has been an amazing experience, and it is such a joy to work with Alan Pierson, Nigel Master , AWS’ resident staging director; and noted John Cage expert Rob Haskins. We’ll be touring selections of this program in the midwest the last week of March and more in Europe this summer.

My second series of performances this month is a premiere of a new 30 minute work by David T. Little for the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. “Brooklyn Village” is a multimedia event seeking to pair works of the past with world premieres centered around Brooklyn’s rich and diverging history. This concert will feature works of Beethoven, Bristow and Aaron Copland, as well as works of Sufjan Stevens, and a world premiere of Sarah Kirkland Snider, in addition to David T. Little’s piece “Am I Born”, which you may have heard a sneak peek of back in October at the World Financial Center. “Brookyln Village” premieres March 24th and 25th at 7:30 pm at the new Roulette location in Brooklyn.

Hope to see some of you at these shows, and please drop me a line if you have questions about tickets. I often have comps and discount codes handed to me.

March 18, 2012 at 3:00pm
Abron Arts Center, New York City

John Cage, short theatrical works

March 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn NY

David T. Little, Am I Born to Die

March 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn NY

David T. Little, Am I Born to Die

March 28, 2012 at 8:00pm
Bowling Green State University, Ohio

John Cage, short theatrical works

March 30, 2012 at 8:00pm
Oakland University, Rochester, MI

John Cage, short theatrical works

March 31, 2012 at 8:00pm
Fontana Chamber Arts, Kalamazoo, MI

John Cage, short theatrical works


I’m so thrilled to announce that on January 19th I will perform Mohammed Fairouz’s “Tawidah” with world renowned klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer at Weill Hall. Please join me for an evening of Mohammed’s vocal and chamber music by stellar performers such as the Imani Winds, the Transatlantic Ensemble, and many others.