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Melanie Mitrano
www.melaniemitrano.com
melanie@melaniemitrano.com

Melanie Mitrano is an ASCAP composer, singer, and teacher whose vocal and compositional styles span many genres, including classical, jazz, theater, Brazilian music and Portuguese Fado. Her music has been performed in a variety of venues from concert halls to jazz clubs.

All Things Gold, her most recent album, features "straight-up acoustic vocal jazz in a champagne glass – swinging, clean, cool and refined." To date, six of the songs on the disc have won compositional awards. Brazilian music also factors heavily into Melanie's artistic profile. Fluent in Portuguese, she performs Brazilian standards and also pens her own Portuguese-language songs.

Melanie is a winner of numerous composition awards from the Songwriters Association of Washington, ASCAP, Billboard, and the Summit City Art Song Festival. Her work has been showcased by the Cape May Singer-Songwriter Festival, Diane Moser Composers Big Band, Arts Up Close Montclair TV 34, and SkyJazz Internet Radio, where she was a Favorite Artist Poll Winner. Melanie has performed as a soloist in the USA, Japan, Taiwan, England, Italy and Brazil. Her two worldwide podcasts for Classical Music Discoveries both placed in the top ten shows of all time with approximately 20 million listens.

Songs in Transit, Melanie's critically-acclaimed debut CD, was released on Capstone Records in 2006. It features repertoire which unites musical theater, blues, jazz, hip-hop and world music styles within a classical framework. Such notable American composers as Lee Hoiby, Tom Cipullo and Lori Laitman, as well as Pulitzer-Prize-winning composers David Del Tredici and Paul Moravec are heard accompanying the singer at the piano.

Melanie is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and has the distinction of being the first woman to receive a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston. She has worked with many other esteemed composers, including György Ligeti, Luciano Berio, and John Harbison. She was a founding member of the Boston-based Auros Group for New Music and has sung with similar groups in the New York area, including Speculum Musicae, Ensemble 21, Composers Concordance Ensemble, Vox Novus, and Friends & Enemies of New Music. With Absolute Ensemble, she recorded the film score for movie Perfume, winner of the 2007 German Film Award, directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Dustin Hoffmann and Alan Rickman. Her voice appears in the film and on the EMI movie soundtrack.

Dr. Mitrano began her teaching career at Connecticut College in New London; and from 1996-2001, served on the faculty of New Jersey City University as Coordinator of Vocal Studies. A dedicated educator and frequent clinician, she has lectured at several NJMEA state conferences, high schools, and universities, including the Mannes College of Music, Western Connecticut State University, Kutztown University, Brooklyn College, and the University of New Hampshire. She has served as an adjudicator for the NJ NATS Festival of Singing and the National Federation of Music Clubs. Her articles have been published in The New Music Connoisseur, Tempo Magazine, the MENC international edition of Spotlight on Teaching Chorus, and the NATS Journal of Singing. She currently maintains an active private voice studio in New Jersey and is working on her third album which features Brazilian-inspired compositions.

Click on a CD
Cover for Details


All Things Gold


Songs in Transit: An American Expedition


Audio Samples:Aries & Gemini    Cafajeste    
El Desafío    My Finest Hour    
The Man You Used To Be    Time For Tea    

Works in the NYWC Catalog:

All Things Gold

Duration: 54 min
Instrumentation: Voice,Pno,B~Guit,Drum~Set,Tpt,Sax,Tbn
All Things Gold is a collection of 15 vocal jazz compositions with original lyrics by the composer, set for solo voice, rhythm section, and varied horn solos. There’s a lot of variety here, from good old-fashioned swing to Latin grooves, soulful pop ballads, and gritty tunes in unusual meters. The emphasis, though, is on story-telling. The lyrics are engaging, smart, and shockingly honest. The result is new music that maintains its innovation, yet seems to evolve naturally from the past, like new additions to the American Songbook. The songwriter refers to her brand of music as “jazz in a champagne glass,” a nod to both her inability and unwillingness to disavow her classical side. “Immune” is dark, raucous, and irreverent. “Smarten Up” is a spicy 5/4 siren song. “Backstory” is evocative, earthy and sensual. “All Things Gold” was inspired by Robert Frost’s signature poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay. The lyrics rail against the inevitable passing away of love, beauty, and life, yet the music suggests the futility of this hope. “Never Been to Brazil” is a fun, quirky, deliberately unrefined bossa nova. “You Can’t Unring Bells” is a nod to the 1940s swing era. The melancholy ballad “Something to Go On” is followed by “I Ain’t Got You,” humorous and playful with an old-school Tin Pan Alley flavor. “The King of Cryptology” is a scathing, sarcastic jazz rhumba. “The Man You Used to Be” is an angst-filled jazz waltz, the use of uneven phrase lengths here keeps the music feeling satisfyingly off-kilter, unsettled and agitated. “Another Song about the Moon” is a clever romp that quotes numerous moon-titled jazz standards, all paired with original material. “She Floats Away” is a haunting and spare ballad, with a sense of fragility and a feeling of weightlessness. “My Finest Hour” is a swing tune in 7/4 time. “Wednesdays” is an ingenuous, sweetly simple jazz waltz. “Toccata Talk to Me” borrows melodic and harmonic material from Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, redefined in a new musical context.
Play Audio 1. Play Audio 2.
Publisher:
Ivy Cottage Press
160 Hillside Avenue
Nutley, NJ  07110
USA
Office: 973-320-5790
Fax: 973-320-5790
www.melaniemitrano.com
melanie@melaniemitrano.com


Cafajeste

Duration: 04:30
Instrumentation: Fl,Vc,Cb
This piece is a samba that is meant to emulate a Brazilian jazz trio, with the cello and bass functioning as the rhythm section. The cello essentially replicates a comping piano or guitar, while the bass underpins the harmonies and keeps the groove locked in. The piece should be counted off like a jazz tune; the tempo is set from the beginning and does not waver throughout.

The flute has long been an integral and essential instrument in the samba tradition. In fact, the first Brazilian instruments were flutes, and their role cannot be overstated. Here, the flute maintains its melodic and improvisatory function, serving as the primary soloist of the piece.

Cafajeste means "womanizer" or "scoundrel" in Portuguese, the official language of Brazil. The piece has a rather seductive, fun and clever quality, typical of this type of man, but also of the type of woman who can spot him a mile away and match his charms equally.

Cafajeste is pronounced as follows: kah-fah-ZHEH-shchee
View Score.
Play Audio.
Publisher:
Ivy Cottage Press
160 Hillside Avenue
Nutley, NJ  07110
USA
Office: 973-320-5790
Fax: 973-320-5790
www.melaniemitrano.com
melanie@melaniemitrano.com


El Desafío

Duration: 3"
Instrumentation: Fl,Vln,Pno
This piece is a rumba that is meant to emulate a Latin jazz trio, with the piano functioning as the rhythm section. The piano essentially replicates a comping jazz piano or guitar, underpinning the harmonies and keeping the groove locked in. The piece should be counted off like a Latin jazz tune; the tempo is set from the beginning and does not waver throughout.

The flute and violin have long been integral instruments in Cuban music. Here, they take on the role of duet soloists, maintaining a conversation throughout the piece.

El Desafío means "challenge" or "dare" in Spanish. My challenge here as a composer was to replicate the sound of Cuban jazz without guitars or drums, but rather within a strictly classical framework. The same challenge is posed to the performers in the piece's execution.
View Score.
Play Audio.
Publisher:
Ivy Cottage Press
160 Hillside Avenue
Nutley, NJ  07110
USA
Office: 973-320-5790
Fax: 973-320-5790
www.melaniemitrano.com
melanie@melaniemitrano.com


Phobias & Infatuations

Duration: 20 min
Instrumentation: Voice,Pno
The eight songs that comprise Phobias & Infatuations may be sung as a complete, ordered cycle, or divided up in any way the singer chooses. The phobias are Prom Date, Dinnertime, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Bona Petite; while the infatuations include Your Joyful Voice, Time for Tea, Aries and Gemini, and Tether Your Sorrows.

These songs combine elements of classical art song, musical theater and jazz. The singer should move fluidly through these styles as required. An extensive vocal range is used (low Ab- high B), thus these songs are best sung by sopranos with solid chest registers or mezzos with easy upper extensions.

This cycle was born from my fascination with intense love and intense fear, seemingly disparate emotions, both having the power to consume one wholly. Thus, the juxtaposition of the two contradictory mental states is paramount. The infatuations create varied atmospheres of sheer ebullience, sexy languor, pure love and wistful yearning. These contrast sharply with the declamatory anxiety, biting sarcasm, and neurotic self-consciousness of the phobias.
Play Audio 1. Play Audio 2.
Publisher:
Ivy Cottage Press
160 Hillside Avenue
Nutley, NJ  07110
USA
Office: 973-320-5790
Fax: 973-320-5790
www.melaniemitrano.com
melanie@melaniemitrano.com


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