New Music For Old Instruments

Welcome! This is the website for the Boston-area composer and musician Mel Fitzhugh, who enjoys playing and composing for historical instruments (e.g., Renaissance and Baroque recorders, viols, harpsichord and chest/continuo organ).


A native of Stafford, Virginia, Melika M. Fitzhugh (A.B. Harvard-Radcliffe: Music Theory and Composition, M.M. Longy School of Bard College: Composition) has studied conducting and composition with Thomas G. Everett, Beverly Taylor, James Yannatos, Julian Pellicano, Roger Marsh, Jeff Stadelman, and, most recently, Osnat Netzer and John Howell Morrison. Performed internationally, Mel's compositions have been commissioned by John Tyson, Catherine E. Reuben, John and Maria Capello, Laura and Geoffrey Schamu, and the Quilisma Consort, and have been performed by those artists as well as the B3:Brouwer Trio, the PHACE Ensemble, the Quarteto L'Arianna with guitarist Daniel Murray and double bassist Pedro Gadelha, the Radcliffe Choral Society, Berit Strong, Patricia R. Abreu, Miyuki Tsurutani, Libor Dudas, Aldo Abreu, and Sarah Jeffrey.

Mel's honors include: 2021 Bang on a Can Fellowship; 2020 winner of the PatsyLu Prize for IAWM’s Search for New Music; 2020/2021 Composer-in-Residence of the Women Composers Festival of Hartford; 2014 winner of the Longy orchestral composition competition; and performances with the Radcliffe Choral Society, Coro Allegro, the Harvard Wind Ensemble, the Village Circle Band, and WACSAC. The artist, who has composed music for film and stage, was a member of Just In Time Composers and Players and is currently a member of world/early music ensemble Urban Myth and the early music ensemble Quilisma Consort, in addition to playing bass guitar with acoustic rock singer/songwriter Emmy Cerra, the ambient rock band Rose Cabal, the symphonic metal band Illusion's End, and the Balkan folk dance band Balkan Fields. Mel enjoys teaching and playing a variety of instruments for folk dance ensembles, including: violin/viola/violoncello/double bass; acoustic guitar/bass; recorders; flute; clarinet; saxophone; trumpet; hand percussion including dumbek/djembe/kahoun.

Recordings Available

Fantasies for a Modern Recorder
Respiravisse in Perpetuo
for Tenor Recorder

Love in the Time of COVID-19,
Violin Version

String Quartet Smackdown VII
String Quartet No. 5:
Aleatory for String Quartet


Reacting to the Landscape
A Woman Keeps Opening
for Soprano and Clarinet

What Others Have Said

American Recorder Society Magazine, Fall 2013

Quilisma Consort (Melika M. Fitzhugh, Lisa Gay, Carolyn Jean Smith), offered three works by Fitzhugh -- a recorder player but also a Master's student in composition at the Longy School. Cascading harmonies and quasi minimalist sections played nicely together in her 2010 Sicilian-ish.

American Recorder Society Magazine, Fall 2015

"...Also returning to the Relay was the Quilisma Consort (Lisa Gay, Carolyn Jean Smith, Melika Fitzhugh), here playing exclusively works by the last member -- and this time adding tenor voice (Elijah Hopkin). Fitzhugh's poignant Lamentations of an Aztec Poet, played mostly on [ATB] Renaissance recorders (occasionally requiring a recorderist to play two simultaneously) was full of percussive chiffs, word-painting of the texts, and Ligeti-like clusters. Hopkin's vocal gymnastics included slides and leaps to unexpected intervals -- difficult for many singers to pull off, yet he did."

American Recorder Society Magazine, Winter 2017: Tom Bickley

"The genuinely remarkable work is one by Boston-area composer Melika Fitzhugh, whose works have been heard in the past on the ARS Great Recorder Relay and Next Generation concerts (held in conjunction with the Boston Early Music Festival in odd-numbered years). Her Respiravisse in Perpetuo is a seven-minute tour de force of listening, subtle manipulation of timbre, and lyricism. Rather than disguising the breathing of the player, Fitzhugh makes it an audible part of the performance of the work, and the recording captures this to very good effect. Fitzhugh plays and writes for historical instruments as well as modern ones—in that, she is ideally positioned for the commission from O’Brien for this disc."

New Music For Old Instruments


Mel (or a work by Mel) will be in the following places at the corresponding times.

Group/Event Time                       Place
Ginger Ibex Saturday, 6 April 2024
The Green Room
62 Bow Street
Somerville, MA
Balkan Fields plays for NEFFA Saturday, 20 April 2024
Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center
Marlborough, MA
The Boston Recorder Orchestra will be premiered my sextet We Are But a Speck in the Time of This Place Saturday, 18 May 2024
First Church Cambridge
11 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA
The Boston New Music Initiative will be performing my second piano trio Lythraceae: Punica Granatum as part of this year's Living Music Summit Friday & Saturday
24-25 May 2024
The Record Co
960 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA
Church of the Covenant
67 Newbury Street
Boston, MA

Get in Touch

If you find that you have questions, comments, or would like to inquire about purchasing or commissioning a score, please contact the composer.

Several scores and available at

Contact me if you do not see the a particular score or version of a piece.

Contact Details