John Melnyk, teacher, pianist, composer (born 17 June 1915 in Winnipeg, MB; died 11 April 2009 in Winnipeg). The eldest 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. He 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, and 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 method influenced by that of Leopold Godowsky. His pupils have included Emanuel Ax, Anne Henderson, Marvin Johnson, Cornelia Gayowsky-Kuchmy, Nadia March, Gilbert and Sheila Munroe, Marion Ross, Dietmar Schmuecker, Pearl Snyder, and Kenneth Winters. He has taught more than 20 winners of the Aikins Memorial Trophy, the senior instrumental award of the Manitoba (Winnipeg) Music Competition Festival. Melnyk's compositions, unpublished and all for piano, include three preludes, a sonata, a concerto, and two sets of variations.
Melnyk's son John (Stephen Nicholas) — pianist, born 4 May 1955 in Winnipeg, MB; BA mathematics (Harvard) 1977, MBA (Harvard) 1983 — was a pupil of his father from 1963 to 1979 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 Rhapsody in Blue with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra guest-conducted by Arthur Fiedler in 1978. He became marketing director for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1984 and in 1989 became general director of Orchestra London Canada.