Marc Mellits' “5 Machines” [is] reminiscent of Reich's work, but with even more complicated cross-rhythms and syncopations, it featured lovely percussion work by Steven Schick, particularly on marimba. This was music as sensual as it was intelligent; I saw audience members swaying, nodding, making little motions with their hands. The visceral appeal of the five-movement piece also highlighted what classical music has in common with rock and pop. Movement four was like a machine going out of control, with a pounding left-hand piano ostinato and loud, percussive strumming. The fifth movement made wonderful use of Miller Theater's acoustics, with the All-Stars stopping abruptly so we could hear the sound die away, then resuming their play. These two movements…clearly pleased the audience: Schaefer couldn't be heard over the thunderous applause, whooping and whistling that greeted the work's conclusion.
New York Press
[Brick] consists of seven short, vivid movements written for chamber orchestra in a direct and accessible style, a kind of mellifluous post-minimalism with Neo-Romantic trappings and churning accompaniments that vigorously push out into the open.
New York Times
About the Paranoid Cheese CD: "...combining lively and edgy process-patterned rhythmic structures with sustained tonal lines to create an exciting sonic blend."
Marc Mellits is to classical music what Weather Report and Return to Forever were to jazz. Above all, [Paranoid Cheese] is engaging and accessible...
"It’s not every concert where the bass clarinetist steals the show. But by now, the five close-knit members of the Akropolis Reed Quintet must look forward to that moment in any program when they start Marc Mellits’ Splinter and those first grainy low notes boom out. There’s a reason that Mellits’ 2014 composition has become the surest introduction to this novel type of chamber group. In eight miniature movements, each named after a species of tree, Splinter makes excellent and entertaining use of the affinities shared by reed instruments. The combined woodwind sound of oboe, clarinet, alto saxophone, bassoon, and bass clarinet is dark and gritty, but also flexible, and these distinctive features have a lot to do with the lowest members of the ensemble."
[Brick] is not only fascinating, driving, full of life, but it's also funny , as is Mr. Mellits. For those who do not know his work, its sparkly, optimistic, not-take-oneself-too-seriously post-minimalism. There's intricacy, there's beauty (he can really write a good tune) but mostly there's bonhomie and spirit without an ounce of turgidity.
New York City music critic Danny Felsenfeld
About "Brick": Lush, complex chord clusters created beautiful scenes, and each new chord added another face to the music, bringing the listener to a new place within moments. Movements would end as if the ensemble was exhaling, and languorous, taffy-like melodies were reserved for special moments…
Syracuse New Times
About the Paranoid Cheese CD: "intoxicating and clever mix of his own: generally hard-driving, catchy, smart, frenetic, frequently beautiful and damn catchy chamber music...I recommend this about as highly as I can recommend anything."
About the Paranoid Cheese CD: "...genial, clever, and inventive in its blending of varied styles and approaches to composition."
All Music Guide
About "Brick":...astonishingly engaging and eclectic in its own right. ...brief, repetitive, musical waterfalls...melodic and upbeat...introspective interludes and lovely combinations of harp and reeds..."Jacob's Ladder" was soaring, swimming, and sonorous, with, once again, quite danceable rhythms. Kudos to Marc Mellits...
About "11 Miniatures": Imaginaive, challenging, and accessible all at once...
Jeanne Belfy, Oboe Recording Reviews
About the Black Box CD containing String Quartet No. 2: Marc Mellits shows he is a good pianist in Piano Phase , so it's interesting to listen to his own String Quartet No. 2. Its first part is titled Groove Canon and the last, Groove Machine. Normally, I don't worry too much about what things are called, but in this case, the titles express the music so accurately that they say more than I can. Groove music seems to play itself. I think the term arose from the 1960s phrase “it's in a groove” i.e. relentlessly following the groove of an LP. That said, Mellits's groove is more open-ended than Reich's, allowing for some quite interesting flights of invention, particularly in the second part. It's the unique selling point of this recording because it is the world première of a major work of one of Reich's admirers, who composed it for the Kronos Quartet.
Anne Ozorio (MusicWeb International)
"Dometude" makes a dramatic entry with insistent pulses, rapid-fire cascades, and faint whiffs of melody, all wrapped together in an incredibly detailed web of notes.
All About Jazz
About the Mellits, Frasca, and Glass arrangements on Dominic Frasca's Deviations:
"...a manifesto on the classical guitar's untapped potential."
CD of the year, New York Times
The opening concert was so thrilling I told the people in my dreams about it. The trio of Fan, Russo, and Cossin might be the chamber trio of the future, especially as heard in the world premiere of…Marc Mellits' “Tight Sweater,” with it's “Mara's Lullaby” movement so beautiful one wanted it not to end, ever. [“Tight Sweater” also] presents a “Pickle Trousers” dance movement that's as much fun as ragtime. Mellits' “Fruity Pebbles,” performed earlier in the evening, was alternatively jazzy, dense, and frantic and included another passage of surpassing beauty in which cello and violinist Buciu played dazzingly beautiful octaves.
La Jolla Village News
…varied repetitive musical figurations buoyed by viscerally propulsive rhythms. Pieces charge along breathlessly… In Fruity Pebbles, played with heart-stopping energy and astounding precision by violinist Cristina Buciu, cellist Fan, and pianist Andrew Russo, the composer achieved a stunning effect by bringing the entire work to a gorgeous and entirely unexpected elegiac conclusion.
Marc Mellits's "Eleven Miniatures for Baroque Ensemble" is exuberant, witty, and full of surprising turns.
San Francisco Bay Area Early Music News
It's always a pleasure to hear music that colors outside the lines, exploding forms and defying expectations. Mellits' "Eleven Miniatures for Baroque Ensemble" was the sleeper of the evening, no doubt surprising many in the audience with its accessibility and wit. Seeming to draw influences from such disparate composers as Gyorgy Ligeti (in its mechanistic complexity), John Adams (in its similarity to post-minimalism) and David Schiff (in its imploding of genre-based expectations), Mellits' miniatures brought out the best in the ensemble, which played with liveliness and an impeccable sense of comic timing.
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Ohio
Marc Mellits capped the program with “11 Miniatures,” a set of brief excursions that pulled out the stops on the potential of the performers. It had something for everybody, from the turbid restlessness of “Dark Age Machinery” to the whimsy of “Slippery.” Mellits seemed to be equally at home in any framework, whether raga or ragtime, and slipped between styles and rhythms with unstoppable wit. My fave was “Lunacy,” which was noticeably heavy on musician enjoyment. The definite high point of the work was flautist Stephen Schultz's moving solo in the second-to-last movement, “Elegy for Lefty.”
20th Century Music, The Triumphs of New Music
Marc Mellits's “11 Miniatures for Baroque Ensemble” paints indelible sonic pictures: “Slippery” slips and slides merrily; the nasty little configurations of “Carpal Tunnel” tighten what should be loose; the obsessive, whimsical smears of “Lunacy” bear lunatic anxiety.
The Washington Post
About "8 Etudes for 2 Guitars": Lovely and smart.
Los Angeles Times
"Mellits apparently draws considerable inspiration from food."
All Music Guide