Kessa Mefford, Piano

Kessa Mefford is a native of Peekskill, New York. Homeschooled by two musicians, she was raised not only to be a pianist, but a well-rounded musician. Her mother was a full-time pedagogue and her father was the general director of an opera company. By the time she was three, her parents discovered she had perfect pitch, and her piano studies began. Throughout her youth, she also studied voice and sang with her father’s opera company. She made her first public piano concert appearance and her first appearance in the opera company children’s chorus at age six. Her first full-length solo piano concert was at age fourteen, and she has since performed solo recitals every year in different locations around New York.

Kessa received a BM in piano performance in August 2017 at Brigham Young University, where she received several academic and music merit scholarships, including the Brigham Young Scholarship, the Cheri de Bonneville Scholarship, and a General Music Scholarship that increased each year of study. After two and a half years of studying with Dr. Richard Anderson, she was accepted to the renowned studio of Dr. Irene Peery-Fox, whom she studied with for two years. While at BYU, she competed at their annual concerto competition with Mozart’s 23rd Piano Concerto in 2015, where she was a finalist. She gave her concerto debut in April of 2016 with the Taconic Opera Chamber Orchestra performing this concerto as well. She will be returning to this orchestra to play Beethoven’s 2nd Piano Concerto in June 2019. Kessa began her MM in piano performance in August 2018 at the Mannes School of Music studying under concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein.

For the last several years, Kessa has also worked as a vocal accompanist, as well as a private piano teacher. Her previous opera training gave her many collaborative opportunities which have allowed her to play in vocal recitals, dozens of juries, and opera scenes at BYU, as well as accompany entire operas with the New York Opera Conservatory. She also received intensive pedagogy training from her mother at home and Dr. Irene Peery-Fox and Dr. Jared Pierce while at BYU. Kessa has also attended pedagogy conferences and workshops including UMTA and MTNA associated events.

Kessa has participated in numerous recitals, concerts, master classes, and coachings. Her master class and coaching opportunities have allowed her to work with renowned pianists Kirill Gliadkovsky, Evelyn Chen, Michael Gurt, Tamás Ungár, Marc Silverman, and Evelyne Brancart. Her recent awards include 1st place in the Best Brahms Performance edition of the Great Composers Competition series and 2nd place in the Best Liszt Performance edition of the same series. When Kessa is not practicing, she enjoys playing video games and spending time with her husband and two cats.