26 Cues from the 82:28 Film Score: RETROGRADE, Directed by Christopher Kulikowski.
A Note From The Director
The reality of getting a film into production is nothing short of a miracle and collaboration, an integral part of the filmmaking process, can be a dream come true or a nightmare to endure. If you are lucky, your partnerships can bring your vision to a point far beyond your wildest expectations. However, if you are unlucky, the pitfalls can drive one to almost complete despair. My experience with “Retrograde,” in truth, was a bit of both. I had the pleasure of working with many fine artists and technicians, but I was also challenged by a never-ending battle of time constraints, tight budgets and multiple “creative perspectives.” Yet, despite these challenges and at times, disappointments, my experience on “Retrograde” was truly unforgettable. The friendships and creative magic that was forged during the production will stay with me for many years to come.
Through the process, several stood steadfast at my side. One such person was my friend, Stephen Melillo. All of Stephen’s music, regardless of the genre or medium, is pure cinema and one does not need moving pictures to have the story told. For Retrograde, his score is both delicate and fiercely charged. I cannot thank him enough for the mountains he has climbed and conquered to deliver a wondrous, musical, 84 minute soundtrack and in a miraculous, death defying seven days! I am truly blessed to have Stephen not only as an artist collaborator, but as a friend.
A Message from Christopher Kulikowski, Writer & Director during the 7 days!
"Stephen, Over the last hour or so, I've been reviewing the cues once again with a fresh ear... all I can say... AMAZING!!!! Where does this stuff come from?! This is your best film score to date!!!! I am so proud and thrilled by your work.... You've really knocked my socks off!!! Talk to you soon and a million thanks!!!! Love," Christopher
"Stephen, The music for Retrograde is incredible, beautiful, and special. I can’t stop listening to it! I am so proud of you!!!" Tom Walsh, EnterAktion Studios, Sound City Center Stage
Chris... It’s GREAT and I thank you very much for those immensely kind words! So warped was my sense of time... I thought it was ELEVEN days! I’ll need to show you a DVD of what was happening during the writing! It was made even more intense by being in the middle of PATHETIC Hurricane Re-Construction work! 8 - ) ! Good Training! SLM
BIO / STEPHEN MELILLO
Susan Corrotto Lieux
Now in 28 countries, the Music of 21st Century Composer, Stephen Melillo has been played and recorded by some of the World's finest ensembles and conductors. More than 950 works span from the IBM Thinkpad® Demo to the Concerto for Violin & Orchestra. Currently 112 commissions for Wind & Percussion Ensembles of the 3rd Millennium comprise the body of recorded work called STORMWORKS.
In 1992, Mr. Melillo's innovation in self-publishing and digital music dissemination, also known as STORMWORKS, established a modern precedent in international Music publishing. From this seminal beginning STORMWORKS is now represented online and via store dealerships in the United States and throughout Europe and the Orient: stormworld.com
You will find Mr. Melillo's scoring work in 13 feature films , 28 network television programs and the 1991 Academy Award-nominated movie 12:01PM starring Kurtwood Smith. In the early 1990’s Stephen composed game music for Nintendo, Sega-Genesis and others through his affiliation with Absolute Entertainment. His work in this field, presented at the 1993 NAMM convention positioned him as a pioneer for a complete new generation of "film-scoring" approaches to game-music.
During the scoring of 12:01PM, and once again inspired by his drive to inspire students, Mr. Melillo authored and implemented Music To Picture, a hands-on curriculum establishing, in 1991, the film-scoring program at the State University of New York at Purchase.
The 1992 premiere of Stephen Melillo's S-MATRIX Symphony # Numberless, conducted by Maestro Gerhardt Zimmerman with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, received the first standing ovation in the 40-year History of the Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. During intermission, a delighted Maestro Zimmerman commissioned Stephen's; Symphony 2: At Life's Edge, which premiered in 1996. At present, Maestro Zimmerman and the Canton Symphony Orchestra are engaged in planning a CD of Melillo symphonic works that will include his Concerto for Violin, composed for virtuoso violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers.
Since 1995, ASCAP continues each year to recognize Mr. Melillo's work with Special Awards in Concert Music. In 2005, his "Documentary in Music, " KAKEHASHI: THAT WE MIGHT LIVE was nominated for the prestigious PULITZER PRIZE IN MUSIC. This composition marking 60 years since the end of WW II, involved an unprecedented gesture in music-making and made International History. KAKEHASHI, inspired by and dedicated to the Survivors of the Bataan Death March, was recorded by an ensemble of 2 American Choruses and 143 Japanese Military Musicians specially appointed for this historic occasion by the Japanese Ministry of Defense.
As creator of MIDIMAST, (MIDI-Music, Mathematics & Science) sponsored by the Ford and Carnegie Foundations and the New York Academy of Science in the early 1980s, Mr. Melillo trained 275 New York City Mathematics and Science teachers while demonstrating a quantifiably improved understanding of mathematics and science via musical composition. Case studies included numerous classes with K-6 students from Harlem, Spanish Harlem, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens.
His scoring techniques, orchestration, recording practices and implementation of new sonic forces in the modern Wind Ensemble have been the subject of several Doctoral dissertations in America, Europe and the Orient. Many of the World's finest ensembles and conductors continue to employ his innovative strategies and instrumentation.
Many of Stephen’s students now enjoy musical careers as teachers and professionals in an eclectic range, employed as teachers, recording artists, television and studio musicians and members of major symphony orchestras.
With 17 years in the public schools, more than 30 years as an international guest conductor, and more than 35 years as a practitioner of the Chinese martial art, Mr. Melillo's ability to communicate musically comes from an extensive knowledge base. From beginning instrumental students to Musicians employed by the Rotterdam and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, Mr. Melillo has worked with a vast array of multinational students aged 4-87. Such diverse experience includes teaching Braille-reading music students at Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts to teaching close-quarter defense techniques to an 11-man detachment of Green Berets stationed in Mansfield, Connecticut during the late 1970s.
Stephen studied conducting with Jens Nygaard and Atilio Poto, a student of Arturo Toscanini. Varied educators, conductors and commissioning parties have termed Stephen Melillo's work "a new voice in the direction of music.”
In addition to film work with New York and Los Angeles based studio orchestras, 112 live concert premieres include:
STORMWORKS Chapter 1: Without Warning, rendered by combined Musicians from the US Army, Navy and Air Force, Stephen Melillo conducting.
STORMWORKS Chapter 2: WENDE, rendered by The Rundfunk Blasorchester Leipzig in Leipzig's Gewandhaus, Stephen Melillo conducting.
STORMWORKS Chapter 3: WAIT of the WORLD, rendered by The Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Maurice Hamers conducting.
STORMWORKS Chapters 5 & 8: WRITINGS on the WALL, rendered by 143 Musicians of the Japanese Military and The Central Band of Japan Self Defense Force with choruses from Shenandoah & Old Dominion Universities in Tokyo, Japan, Stephen Melillo conducting.
STORMWORKS Chapter 0: WALK on the WATER, rendered by The Dutch Royal Military Band in Rotterdam, Stephen Melillo conducting.
MUSASHI, rendered by The Patriot Symphonic Band, Harry Pfingsten conducting and by The Ried Blasorchester in Shladming, Austria, Karl Geroldinger conducting.
MUSASHI & WAIT of the WORLD rendered by The Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra in Tokyo, Japan, David Bostock conducting.
The Concerto for Violin, rendered by The Sudwind Orchester from Germany, Stephen Melillo conducting.
S-MATRIX & Symphony 2: At Life's Edge, rendered by The North Carolina and Canton Symphony Orchestras, Gerhardt Zimmerman conducting.
Stephen Melillo's 1976 composition, After the Storm, was played to a television audience of over 2 million as the concluding work in Singapore's 2005 salute to "Building a New Future."
In addition to numerous guest conducting assignments around the world, Stephen has also made Music with the following US All-State Bands: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Dakota (2x), New Mexico (2x), and New York in 2006.
Mr. Melillo attended the University of Connecticut at Storrs in 1976, the Manhattan School of Music in New York in 1979, and holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Massachusetts in 1980 and a Masters in Music and Conducting from Columbia University, New York in 1982.
"He could become the Leonard Bernstein of this age... Everything he creates has many layers, ranging from synchronicity to the significance of numbers, from visceral emotions to the brotherhood of mankind." John S. Sweeney, Music Critic
"His S-MATRIX Symphony was fabulous, full of childlike wonderment as the composer intended and marvelous sounds. And they worked to maximum effect - a brilliant, original use of orchestral resources for a sophisticated, sensational, beautiful and satisfying experience."Nancy R. Ping-Robbins, Music Critic
"Melillo is to wind music what Beethoven was to the symphony orchestra, and he follows a Beethovenesque design of increasing the musical tension almost to the breaking point, receding, and then reaching again. It is superlative musical craftsmanship and inspiring to hear." Marvin Sosna, Special to The Tribune.
"...a new voice in the direction of music, his sound ? a bridge between the serious and the immediately visceral." Maestro Gerhardt Zimmerman, Conductor
"... his ability to create a mood, find precisely the right touch of drama and create the needed effect was manifest... the sustained chords in the choir, the timpani's roar, the harp's glissandos. Melillo used them all with a sense of absolute rightness and the result was fresh, joyful and exciting... each measure scored with an unerring ear for drama and emotion." John S. Sweeney, Music Critic
"I sit back in a studio. There are others around me. Our eyes are focused on a viewing screen and our ears poised. The two tapes roll. A video and a film score from you. What takes place has to be called a miracle. We are pulled here, then yanked back, thrown into despair then lifted back on to our feet and beyond, far far beyond. The score is beautiful Steve. More than I could have hoped for. What a triumph! I thank you." Rogers Follansbee, Director