John Melnyk, teacher, pianist, composer (born 17 June 1915 in Winnipeg, MB; died 11 April 2009 in Winnipeg). Pianist John Melnyk performed regularly in Winnipeg in the 1930s and toured as an accompanist to Frederick Grinke, Lorne Munroe and John Waterhouse. Melnyk began teaching privately in 1938. His pupils included Gilbert and Sheila Munroe, Arnold Spohr and Kenneth Winters. Melnyk also composed for piano and was posthumously accepted as an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre in 2021. His son, John S.N. Melnyk, was also a concert pianist and an arts administrator.
The son of Ukrainian immigrants Mykola and Palagia Melnyk, John Melnyk studied from 1924 to 1938 in Winnipeg with Maria Kekishiwna (a pupil of Anton Rubinstein), Leda Omansky and Beryl Ferguson. In 1935, he earned his Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music, London.
Early Performance Career
Melnyk participated in the Saturday Night concert series sponsored by the Men's Music Club of Winnipeg from 1930 to 1936. In the late 1930s, he toured as accompanist to Frederick Grinke, Lorne Munroe and John Waterhouse. In the early 1940s he played for the Viennese soprano Olga Lepkhova and the Ukrainian violinist Roman Prybatkhevytch on their Canadian appearances.
Melnyk began teaching privately in 1938. His pupils included Barry Anderson, Emanuel Ax, John Bergsagel, Aaron Charloff, Anne Henderson, Marvin Johnson, Edward Jurkowski, Cornelia Gayowsky-Kuchmy, Tatiana Roitman Mann, Nadya March, Gilbert and Sheila Munroe, Barbara Riske, Marion Ross, Dietmar Schmuecker, Pearl Snyder, Arnold Spohr and Kenneth Winters. His students won the Aikins Memorial Trophy, the senior instrumental award of the Manitoba (Winnipeg) Music Competition Festival, 20 times between 1945 and 1981.
Early in his career, Melnyk also composed. His compositions, all for piano, include three preludes, a sonata, a concerto and two sets of variations. He was posthumously accepted as an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre in 2021.
Melnyk's son, the pianist John Stephen Nicholas Melnyk — born 4 May 1955 in Winnipeg; BA mathematics (Harvard) 1977, MBA (Harvard) 1983 — was a pupil of his father, and of Rowland Sturges in Boston from 1973 to 1977. He won the Harvard-Radcliffe Concerto Competition in 1977 and was soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra in Gershwin's Concerto in F in 1977 and Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in 1978. He also played Gershwin's Concerto in F with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra guest-conducted by Arthur Fiedler in 1978 and performed the North American premiere of the Revutsky Piano Concerto Op.18 with Piero Gamba and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) in 1980. He became marketing director for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1984. From 1989 to 1992, he was general director of Orchestra London Canada (now London Symphonia).