Melinda Coffey, pianist
"Exquisite pianism devoted entirely to the music itself." -Denis Matthews
"Melinda Coffey has done it again. Her new CD release, "Beyond Words", is a Valentine by any description of its contents and presentation. This box of bonbons raises easy listening to a high art, through sensitive artistic readings of delectable chestnuts by Liszt, Chopin, Grieg, Mozart, Rachmaninoff and- why not?- an arrangement of Puccini's "O mio babbino caro". The hour-long collection of some 13 "romantic" pieces finds its executant weaving her characteristic blend of maturity and innocence, strength and vulnerability, vision and confidence. Coffey has established herself as an invaluable asset to this community's artistic resources, and proven it with a growing discography of exceptional achievement. Her CDs are not only givers, but keepers as well." Coast Weekly, Dec. 23, 1999
"Coffey's lovely new CD, "Beyond Words"...perfectly complements her first album "Season of Dreams". Coffey has a magic touch with music for dreaming and relaxing. Enjoy her reveries." Monterey County Herald, Nov. 25, 1999
Melinda took up piano at age nine in her hometown, Healdsburg, California, because ballet school was too expensive and too far away. She fell into the hands of an exceptional piano teacher, Alla Dakserhof, from the pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg Conservatoire, who guided her for nine years, up until she entered the University of California at Santa Barbara, where Mrs. Dakserhof had already chosen a teacher for her.
College degrees (bachelor’s at UCSB, summer study in Switzerland, and M.A at the University of British Columbia) followed, pro forma finishing touches on the exceptional foundation laid by Mrs. Dakserhof. On graduation from UBC she won first prize in the National Competitive Music Festival in Toronto and settled into her Canadian orbit: eighteen years of concertizing, recording
(60 recitals for the CBC, television, CDs for Meridian Records of London and Waterlily Records,Toronto), touring (from the Northwest Territories to Montreal, England, France, Israel and the U.S.), and teaching (Vancouver Academy of Music, Vancouver Community College and private
studio) in Vancouver, Canada. This stimulated and refined her professional life, but left her unable to remember what the sun looked like.
Fate stepped in, bringing her to Carmel to play with the Carmel Bach Festival for the first time in 1988, when any resistance to the charms of California melted like sand castles at high tide. Since coming “home” in 1991 she has performed with the Marin Opera Orchestra soloist, “Rhapsody
in Blue”); Friends of Music at St. John’s, Ross; Russian River Chamber Music, Healdsburg; Anchor Chamber Players of San Francisco; The Colburn School at USC; Music at All Saints, Beverly Hills; Bargemusic, New York City; City University of New Jersey Orchestra, Carmel Bach Festival, Mozart Society of California, and Ensemble Monterey. Since 1995 she has been Music Director at the Church in the Forest in Pebble Beach, enabling her to engage and perform with outstanding professional musicians. She also teaches piano privately. She is a natural teacher. Claims she can’t help it, that wisdom simply oozes out of her. Like when you put too much batter in the waffle iron.
She has recorded and produced three solo piano CDs:“Season of Dreams”, “Beyond Words” and “Christmas Reflections”. (If you talk to somebody who claims not to have any of them in the trunk of her car for sale, then you are not talking to her.)
You know that feeling when you dream you’ve awakened and gotten up and had breakfast and are walking out the front door, and then you really wake up and have to do it all over again?
She’s like that all the time.