Dancing Wheels joins the Canton Symphony Saturday

Imagine being in the audience the night a new Mozart, Beethoven or Tchaikovsky composition was performed for the very first time. How exciting that must have been! On November 21 at 8:00pm the Canton audience in Umstattd Performing Arts Hall will have the opportunity to witness the World Premiere of a musical work by composer Stephen Melillo performed by the Canton Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Gerhardt Zimmermann conducting.

Although it may be unfair to put Melillo in the same class as Mozart and the like just yet, he has had his fair share of musical success. An ASCAP Concert Awards recipient each year since 1992, Melillo has composed over 1118 works including 4 symphonies, several concerti, film scores, and game music for Nintendo and Sega-Genesis. In 2005, his Documentary in Music, “Kakehashi: That We Might Live” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. The 70-minute work was inspired by and dedicated to the Survivors of the Bataan Death March and marked the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II. The DVD version was also nominated in 2008 for a Best Long Form Documentary at the 50th Grammy Awards.

In 1992, Melillo’s premiere of S-MATRIX Symphony # Numberless was conducted by Gerhardt Zimmermann with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and received the first standing ovation in the 40-year history of the Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. Zimmermann went on to commission Melillo’s Symphony 2: At Life’s Edge in 1996 and will again be on the podium November 21 for the premiere of Symphony IIII: Lightfall.

Melillo has also made an impact as an educator. In the early 1980’s, he created MIDIMAST (MIDI-Music, Mathematics & Science) sponsored by the Ford and Carnegie Foundations and the New York Academy of Science and quantifiably improved understanding of mathematics and science via music composition. He spent 17 years in public schools and 40 years as an international guest conductor thus working with a vast array of multinational students aged 4-87.

An added dimension to the premiere of Symphony IIII: Lightfall, will be the Cleveland-based Dancing Wheels Company and School. The professional dance company will premiere choreography by Akron’s Neos Dance Theatre Artistic Director and co-founder Bobby Wesner.

Tickets for the concert range from $25-$45. There are senior, student and group discounts available. Tickets and the full concert season schedule are available at www.cantonsymphony.org, by calling (330) 452-2094, at the Zimmermann Symphony Center – 2331 17th Street NW in Canton – weekdays from 10am-5pm or at the Umstattd Performing Arts Hall box office beginning one hour and fifteen minutes before the performance.

Founded in 1937, the Canton Symphony Orchestra is a fully professional ensemble and organization dedicated to performing concerts that enrich, educate and entertain. Under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann, the orchestra performs classical, pops, holiday, and educational programs. Most performances are in Umstattd Performing Arts Hall, adjacent to the Zimmermann Symphony Center 2331 17th Street NW, Canton, Ohio. Parking at the Zimmermann Symphony Center is free. For more information, please visit www.CantonSymphony.org.