Music has been a way of life, a river that takes me to wonderful places and amazing people.
I began playing percussion in the 6th grade, when all of the students got to choose an instrument to play as part of the school music program. I chose percussion, and have been playing ever since. After attending Interlochen Arts Academy in high school, I went on to study percussion at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia CA. While studying classical and contemporary percussion, I also began studying hand drums with prestigious faculty members, Randy Gloss, Houman Pourmhedi and Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri.
All of these great influences, brought so much excitement and freshness to my musical world. I began to see how special these traditions are, and the similarities amongst them, all tied around rhythm, and the connection to the mind, body, and soul.
After graduating from Calarts in 2010, I have continued my Tabla studies at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael. I make music in the Bay Area, fusing together many drum styles to create original music, and new perspectives on traditional music as well. I hope to promote through my playing the embrace of all cultures, and the connection through music and drumming that brings everyone together.
A master of many instruments and percussive styles, Mellinger is both an innovator and a preserver of age-old traditions. He currently performs and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has worked with ensembles such as the John Clarke Trio, StringQuake, Gamelanx, The View from Bernal Hill, and the Spirit of the Lotus.