"an excellent young pianist."
- New York Times
"there is rarely an opportunity to hear a performance where complete control of technique exists in the hands of a pianist who serves, first and foremost, a musical purpose."
- Hämeen Sanomat (1/27/20)
Winner of The Juilliard School's 2019 Leo B. Ruiz Carnegie Hall Recital Prize and Arthur Rubinstein Prize, the Jade Medal from the inaugural China International Music Competition, the 2018 Paris Recital Prize from Poland's Prix de Tarnów Competition, and the first prize and chamber music prize from Finland's 2017 Maj Lind International Piano Competition, 26-year-old American pianist Mackenzie Melemed’s international career continues to flourish. Praised by the New York Times as an "excellent young pianist" he 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's concertized throughout the United States, in Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Japan, Korea, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland. He was recently named one of ten annual recipients of The Juilliard School's Career Advancement Grant, providing up to $20,000 in supplemental support through 2022. Melemed was also named as a finalist of the 2021 American Pianist Association Awards. The distinction comes with an elevated cash prize of $50,000 awarded to all finalists due to the exceptional circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
Melemed has obtained private funds and allocated grant money in order to commission a new Piano Concerto from Avner Dorman, to be premiered in 2022. The project is ongoing, and currently several orchestras on 3 continents are scheduled to perform the work in the first year.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Melemed transformed his New York City apartment into a home studio, performing concerts via live-stream and offering virtual lessons to students around the world. He frequently collaborated with his roommate, violinist Max Tan, for Groupmuse and the New Asia Chamber Music Society. Melemed teaches on the Play With a Pro and Resonance platforms and offering mini-lectures and monthly live-streamed performances on Patreon.
As of August, Melemed is living in Finland, where he hopes to establish a new home base. His Finnish agency, Fazer Artists, procured many performance opportunities despite the persistent lockdowns and restrictions, including Beethoven Concerto No.4 with Ville Matvejeff and the Jyväskylä Sinfonia, Mozart Concerto No.13 with Johannes Gustavsson and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Mozart Concerto No.23 with Tuomas Pirilä and the Hyvinkää City Orchestra, and a solo recital for the International Sibelius Festival in Lahti. Melemed's recent performance of Scriabin's Piano Concerto with Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra was live-streamed on February 18th.
Melemed’s 2019-20 season focused mainly on recitals, with engagements in Italy, Finland, France, and throughout the United States. Highlights include his debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as winner of the Ruiz Memorial Prize, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.13 with Finland’s Vaasa City Orchestra, and solo recitals at Paris’ Salle Cortôt, Finland’s Arctic PianoFest, South Orange Performing Arts Center (NJ) and Tuckerman Hall in Worcester, MA. In October 2019, Warner Classics released “Möbius”, featuring his performance of the Jeajoon Ryu Piano Concerto with conductor Ralf Gothóni and Sinfonia Varsovia.
In May 2019, Mackenzie Melemed won 3rd Prize in the 1st China International Music Competition, performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in the final round with The Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing.
2018-19 season engagements of note included a concert tour of Finland, where Melemed performed solo recitals, chamber music concerts, and concerti with orchestra. Highlights of that tour included the Symphony premiere of Barber’s Piano Concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the European premiere of South Korean composer Jeajoon Ryu’s Piano Concerto with Ralf Gothóni and the Kuopio City Orchestra. In November, he was invited to record the Ryu Piano Concerto with Ralf Gothóni and Sinfonia Varsovia for Warner Classics. The CD commemorates 30 years of diplomacy between Korea and Poland. Additional noteworthy engagements included a solo recital at WQXR’s The Greene Space, Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA, performances at the Glafsfjordens Music Festival in Sweden, appearing in concerts with the David Oistrakh Quartet and bassoonist Sebastian Stevensson, and performances of Selim Palmgren’s Piano Concerto No.2 with Finland’s Tampere Filharmonia and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3 with Finland’s Saimaa Sinfonietta, and performing Jeajoon Ryu’s Piano Concerto on tour with the KBS Symphony Orchestra (Korea) at the Beethoven Eastern Festival in Poland. The concerts were held in Lublin, Katowice (NOSPR), and in Warsaw at the National Philharmonic Hall. In 2018, Melemed’s recording of Avner Dorman’s Three Etudes was released on the Steinway and Sons label.
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
Melemed is a recent graduate of the two-year 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 its prestigious accelerated five-year-dual-degree program. Former teachers include Dean Arvidson, Alexander Korsantia, Olga Rogach and William Smiddy. Additionally, Melemed has been honored to work with distinguished artists, such as Vladimir Feltsman, Stephen Hough, Pavel Gililov, Robert Levin, Susan Starr, Nelita True, and Arie Vardi, among many others. In addition to English and French, Melemed is fluent in Finnish and studied the language at Columbia University for three years.