Melanie Mitrano is a performer, educator and award-winning ASCAP composer, whose vocal and compositional styles span many genres, including classical, electroacoustic, jazz, theater, and pop. Fluent in Portuguese, she pens and performs her own Portuguese-language music, including Brazilian-inspired songs and Portuguese Fado, the traditional music of Portugal. Her work has been performed in a variety of venues from concert halls to theaters to jazz clubs.
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 personally with many esteemed composers, including György Ligeti, Luciano Berio, and John Harbison. In Manchester, England, she gave the world premieres of selected 20th-century Lieder at the second Perspectives on Anton Bruckner conference; and toured Japan and Taiwan, premiering the choral music of Earl Kim. 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, The Crosstown Ensemble, The Downtown Chamber Players, 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.
Melanie has sung under the auspices of American Opera Projects, and made her solo Carnegie Hall debut in 2004. That same year, she won first place in the New Jersey NATS Artist Award Competition, and second place in the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation Art Song Competition. She has sung in conjunction with the Composers Concordance and the Guild of Composers, under whose sponsorship she made her Merkin Hall recital debut in 1996; and premiered student and faculty compositions at Yale, NYU, NEC, Colombia University, MIT, The New School of Music, and the Symposium for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College. Dr. Mitrano premiered the role of Harriett Shelley in Allan Jaffe’s new American opera, Mary Shelley, presented at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. With Sound Liberation, she appeared in the premiere of Gene Pritsker’s techno-rock opera Money at the Flea Theater and The Players Theater in Manhattan. In 2008, she gave the Italian premiere of this work at Etnafest in Catania, Sicily. Songs in Transit, Melanie's critically-acclaimed debut CD, was released on Capstone Records in 2006. Among her own compositions, 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 contributed their work to the album and are heard accompanying the singer at the piano.
An ASCAP composer, Melanie performs her original works in a variety of venues, from concert halls to jazz clubs. Her classical art songs have been featured at Symphony Space in NYC, and in recital at various American universities. She was awarded two composer-performer grants from the New York Women’s Composers in 2006 and 2017. In 2008, she was a guest composer-performer with the NJ-based Diane Moser Composers Big Band. Melanie's classical song cycle Phobias & Infatuations won the composition prize at the Summit City Art Song Festival in 2011, and her first theater piece, a dramatic song cycle entitled Blind Spots, placed as a semi-finalist in the 2015 NJ Playwright's Contest. Her new disc, All Things Gold, featuring her original vocal jazz compositions, has just been released by Ivy Cottage Press. Six of the songs on that disc won compositional awards in annual SAW Mid-Atlantic Song Contests and the Billboard World Song Contest. Melanie’s compositions have been showcased at the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, Women in Music Columbus, the Cape May Singer-Songwriter Festival, First Night Morris, with the Diane Moser Composers Big Band, the Astoria Big Band, InterXchange Big Band, on Arts Up Close Montclair TV 34, Union After Dark TV 34, Circuit Bridges Fifteen Minutes-of-Fame, Hawaii Public Radio, and SkyJazz Internet Radio, where she was a Favorite Artist Poll Winner. Her two worldwide podcasts for Classical Music Discoveries both placed in the top ten shows of all time with approximately 20 million listens. She currently serves as cofounder, resident composer and vocalist with the InterXchange Ensemble, based in São Paulo, Brazil.
Dr. Mitrano began her teaching career at Connecticut College in New London; and from 19962001, 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. Since 1999, Dr. Mitrano has been a member of the editorial board of The New Music Connoisseur, a Manhattan-based journal dedicated to the advancement of contemporary music. Her articles have been published in NMC, as well as Tempo Magazine, the MENC international edition of Spotlight on Teaching Chorus, and the NATS Journal of Singing. Currently, she teaches on the faculty of County College of Morris, and maintains a busy private voice studio in New Jersey.