“There is simply no greater comfort than that of playing a Steinway - the only piano with a color palette perfectly synced with my imagination. I can freely explore the depths of my musical psyche and push the limits of my artistic potential when I am playing an instrument that is capable of producing any sound I want to hear.”
Recipient of a 2022 Avery Fisher Career Grant, winner of The Juilliard School’s 2019 Leo B. Ruiz Carnegie Hall Recital Prize, 2018 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, the Jade Medal at the 2019 China International Music Competition, and the first prize and chamber music prize at Finland's 2017 Maj Lind International Piano Competition, 27-year-old American pianist Mackenzie Melemed’s international career continues to flourish. Melemed's press coverage consistently labels him not only a consummate solo artist, but also a remarkably sensitive chamber musician and first-class soloist with orchestra. Praised by the New York Times as an "excellent young pianist" Melemed, a Steinway Artist, has performed in venues such as The White House (2004-2008), Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, and the Helsinki Music Centre. He has performed with numerous orchestras, notably the Philadelphia Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and KBS Symphony (Korea). Melemed was named one of ten annual recipients of The Juilliard School's Career Advancement Grant, providing $20,000 over two years. Melemed was a laureate of the 2021 American Pianists Awards of the American Pianists Association; he received a cash prize of $50,000 for the distinction.
The 2021-22 season includes performances at the Arvo Pärt Center in Estonia, FPC Myrtle Beach Concert Series, ProMusica San Miguel (Mexico), Jupiter Chamber Players (NYC), Oulu Music Festival (Finland), Naantali Music Festival (Finland), with the Helsinki Philharmonic, Stamford Symphony, Princeton Symphony and Thüringen Philharmonic (Germany).
With the financial support of Diana Glimm, grants from The Juilliard School, and prize money from the American Pianists Association, Melemed commissioned a new Piano Concerto from Israeli-American composer Avner Dorman. The world-premiere performances were given with the Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha-Eisenach under Dorman’s baton, with rave reviews and thunderous applause following the concerts.
Melemed is a graduate of the Artist Diploma program at The Juilliard School with Robert McDonald and Emanuel Ax. Melemed also holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, where he graduated from the accelerated five-year-dual-degree program.
Since 2020, Melemed has lived in Finland. His success following the 2017 Maj Lind Piano Competition, coupled with his fluency in Finnish from Columbia University language courses, launched his successful performance career with invitations to perform with several of Finland’s orchestras and at major music festivals.
Recent seasons included solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, Paris’ Salle Cortôt, the Gilmore Rising Star Series, Finland's Sibelius Festival and WQXR’s The Greene Space; concerti engagements included Jeajoon Ryu’s Piano Concerto (2017) with Yoel Levi and the KBS Symphony Orchestra at the Beethoven Easter Festival, Barber Piano Concerto with Pablo González and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra in Beijing.
Melemed’s discography features world-premiere recordings: Avner Dorman’s “Three Etudes” on the Steinway and Sons label (2018) and Jeajoon Ryu’s Piano Concerto with Ralf Gothóni and Sinfonia Varsovia on the Warner Classics label (2019).
Additional honors include 1st Prize and Commissioned Work Prize at the 2017 Iowa International Piano Competition, 5th Prize at the 2012 Gina Bachauer International Young Artists Piano Competition in Utah, and the Commissioned Etudes Prize of the 2012 New York International Piano Competition.
At the age of three, Melemed’s grandfather bought him a keyboard at a yard sale, leading to his enrollment in a beginner piano course. Performances at local senior centers soon became a weekly occurrence, and by the time Melemed turned seven, he had given over 200 concerts for senior citizens and charitable organizations. When Melemed appeared on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, she remarked, “what a bargain!” at the $1 price-tag for the instrument that ignited his passion for music. A series of small local performances connected Melemed with Washington D.C. in 2004, and he was invited to perform at the White House Holiday Open House for five consecutive years. In 2007, only one year after beginning classical training, Melemed won the grand prize at the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition and gave his Carnegie Hall debut
Former teachers include Dean Arvidson, Alexander Korsantia, Olga Rogach and William Smiddy.
Mackenzie Melemed is a Steinway Artist
Photos: Jiyang Chen