An Afternoon of Colorful Music with Mélomanie

By Guest Blogger, Chuck Holdeman
Chuck is a regional composer of lyrical, contemporary classical music, including opera, orchestral music, songs, chamber music, music for film, and music for educational purposes.

On Sunday afternoon, March 9 at the Delaware Center for Contemporary . Arts,Mélomanie, Delaware’s half-and-half chamber group (half baroque, half new music) played its third performance of its third program of the season. Themed “Ultraviolet,” the program celebrated beloved longtime Wilmington Friends School music teacher Violet Richmond with the premiere of Ultraviolet, written in her honor by local composer Mark Hagerty. His piece Context also received its premiere, along with music by 18th Century composers G.P. Telemann and Anna Bon and 20th Century American composer, Alec Wilder. The virtuoso guest percussionist was Chris Hanning — a star in the international drumming firmament, and who, like Mélomanie flutist Kim Reighley, is on the faculty of West Chester University. Reighley also had a big day, performing in all five works on the program.


Changes in Venue for Mélomanie

Mélomanie is opening their twentieth season with great fanfare at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts. This local ensemble has been commissioning new works and pairing them with baroque music for two decades and they are just about to launch a pairing with a hip arts center. After playing for many years in historic Wilmington churches with great resonance and reverberation, the group is going to play in a venue which is more like a public center – a place to meet and greet. This will present a less formal side of the ensemble and will draw attention to the fact that this group has been a prime mover in commissioning music in this area – an itinerant Delaware center for contemporary music.


A Visit with Brazilian Composer, Sergio Roberto de Oliveira

On Sunday, May 19, 2013, Wilmington ensemble Mélomanie joins Philadelphia jazz duo Minas in a collaborative concert exploring the diverse landscape of Brazilian music, from classical to pop to jazz, with compositions by Orlando Haddad of Minas and Brazilian composer Sergio Roberto de Oliveira, who has traveled from Rio to be here for the performance. Delaware Arts Info visited with Sergio this week to talk about the performance and his works.


Mélomanie: Holding Our Attention

How do keep your audience challenged and still keep them engaged? To give them both the contemporary “classical” music and early music experience? Mélomanie, the Wilmington-based ensemble, does this with its varied, unusual programs, which are always brilliantly executed. Mélomanie’s April concert at Wilmington’s Grace Church included guest artists Elizabeth Field, baroque and modern violins, James Wilson, baritone and David Laganella, composer.


Mėlomanie Plays to a Packed House…at the Library

Music in a library? What better way to introduce the public to musical instruments like the gamba, baroque flute and baroque violin? The Friends of the Newark Free Library are devoted to making their library a community education center and they attracted quite a crowd for the concert by Mėlomanie. Over 90 people came to hear the Sunday afternoon concert – many of them brought children.


Mėlomanie Plays at Immanuel Highlands

The Immanuel Episcopal Church, Highlands has begun a Music at Immanuel program featuring a great fall calendar of performances starting with an evening of Mėlomanie. The program featured a world premiere by guitarist/composer Chris Braddock called Grease in the groove which was a delightful mix of country music and jazzy sounds for mandolin, twelve-string guitar, harpsichord and cello. Doug McNames, cello, took Braddock’s brash bass line and ran with it, creating a fun and almost washtub effect while Tracy Richardson played a series of delicate scales and arpeggios on the harpsichord. Braddock played his mandolin part which he had made the lead voice dominating the trio. Then he switched to the twelve-string guitar against which he created a very high cello part which took over the dominant voice for the end of the piece – evocative of Scheherazade rather than the country style in which the piece began.


David Patrick Stearns’ Review of Mélomanie’s January 14 Performance (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Michael Caruso’s Review of Mélomanie’s January 15 Performance (Chestnut Hill Local)

Warm Hats and Notes for Mélomanie

Mélomanie invited guest composer Kile Smith for the premiere of his work The Nobility of Women for harpsichord, ‘cello, viola da gamba, violin, flute and oboe. The work is a series of dances which have both a baroque inspiration and a modern treatment– especially the fanfare of the Overture. Smith’s mastery of detail (his years as librarian of the Fleischer collection made their mark) was evident in his his careful consideration of each instrument as a soloist.


Mélomanie on the Fringe (Spark Magazine Spotlight)

Early Music America Review of “Florescence” & “Soliloquy”

Ensemble Musicians go for Baroque

By Susan L. Peña, Reading Eagle Correspondent
The ensemble Mélomanie has carved out a unique niche for itself, which it demonstrated in a concert presented by the Albright College Friends of Music in the college’s Center for the Arts. Performing Friday night on exquisite Baroque instruments, including a harpsichord decorated in black, gold and red, the ensemble plays, as one would expect, Baroque music. But it also specializes in contemporary music.