- Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 2019
“He’s one of these kids that comes along once in a generation who is like a musical sponge. … he’s a phenomenon,” Jacobsen said. “He’s the kind of phenomenon Liszt probably was at his age, and he’s the kind of phenomenon that would gravitate into the Liszt sphere of the planets.”
Jared Jacobsen, The Chautauquan Daily, 2011
Thomas Mellan (the “bad-boy” of organ music — as evidenced by his bespoke black denim jacket adorned with studs and patches) put on an extravagant demonstration of distorted, dissonant classical compositions. An homage to punk methodologies, Mellan’s exhilarating plunges into the instrument’s keys swiftly diffuse the tranquil air once lining the bowels of the sanctuary. His seemingly flippant playing style and over-the-top showmanship distinctly pivots away from traditional organ sounds and stage etiquette. In a series of thunderous growls cast from the organ’s pipes, Mellan radiates jubilance, offering a cheeky subversion of tradition and genre to the mostly uninitiated audience.
Liam Mullen, Cornelia Magazine, Toronto, 2022
“The new release will be a pleasant surprise for everyone, because it highlights the music of two composers for two different instruments. The common denominator that united nestor Nyzhankyvzkyi’s Prelude and Fugue (organ version) and Mykola Lysenko’s Elegy in memory of Taras Shevchenko for piano is the performer. The delicacy, sense, expression and creativity with which the musician approached the performance of the Ukrainian repertoire is impressive. But it is not surprising, because Thomas is a real professional and a friend of Ukraine: he has given concerts in Lviv and participated in the events of the International Organ Festival and the Lviv Organ Residence.
While Thomas cannot come to Ukraine in person, let’s enjoy his virtuoso playing online in the Ukrainian Classical Live app.”
Taras Demko, Ukrainian Classical Live (2022)
“Two pieces, both piano works arranged for organ and played by Thomas Mellan, Music Director at Saint Cecilia Parish, Boston, constituted the most unusual repertoire of the afternoon. Samsara (2010) by Tigran Hamasyan (b. 1987) is based on folk tunes of the composer’s native Armenia. Officially classified as jazz, to my ears it sounded like an imaginative contemporary organ work with only an occasional whiff of jazz. While creating an exciting swirl of broken chords and arpeggios, Mellan utilized a whole panoply of organ colors including foundation stops, Trumpet, Vox Humana, and Tuba Mirabilis. The result was so convincing that it was hard to believe the original work was not written for the organ. The Prelude and Fugue on a Ukrainian Folk Tune by Nestor Nyzhankyvskyi (1893-1940) is an attractive work which similarly highlighted the performer’s considerable gift for “orchestrating” at the organ; a notable example was a fascinating interplay of reed stops near the end of the prelude: Oboe, Vox Humana, 16’ Cor Anglais, and Clarinet (if I’m not mistaken). Even in the more disciplined writing of the fugue, Mellan found an unusually wide array of colors. If the late addition of chorus reeds inevitably obscured some contrapuntal detail, it did yield the reward of a very exciting climax and ending.
Geoffrey Wieting, The Boston Musical Intellegencer, 2022
“It’s impressive enough but not the equal of the quite stunning performance [of Franz Liszt’s Totentanz] by Thomas Mellan on the organ of the First United Methodist Church, San Diego (available to view on YouTube), one of several filmed accounts on the organ. This one, while properly thrilling, highlights the ‘Dies irae’ quotations more clearly than many accounts of the second piano-and-orchestra version.”
Jeremy Nicholas, Gramaphone UK, 2023