Advanced Search:

Regular Search
❮ Go Back to Listings
JOHN MELNYK  Obituary pic


Born: Jun 17, 1915

Date of Passing: Apr 11, 2009

Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory

Adjust Text Size: A+ A-

JOHN MELNYK SR. Pianist and Teacher June 17, 1915 - April 11, 2009 Peacefully, on Saturday afternoon, April 11, 2009, in the home in which he had lived and worked for over half a century, John Melnyk, husband, father, pianist and teacher, passed away at the age of 93. He leaves to reflect his legacy his devoted wife of 60 years, Irene, sons John and David, daughters-in-law Jacqueline Ryz and Jane Beharriell, nephew Jim Melnyk and niece Judy Nickerson, and thousands of appreciative piano students with whom he shared his love of music and gift for teaching so generously. John was the elder of two sons born to Mykola and Palagia who immigrated to Canada from Ukraine and met and married in Winnipeg. From an early age, he was drawn to the piano; he studied it enthusiastically from 1924 to 1938 first with Maria Kekishiwna (a pupil of Anton Rubinstein), Leda Omansky, and finally Beryl Ferguson under whose tutelage he earned his Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music, London in 1935. He quickly became a well-known performer, participating from 1930 to 1936 in the Saturday Night concert series sponsored by the Men's Music Club of Winnipeg, performing live-to-air broadcasts for CBC, touring Western Canada with up-and-coming Canadian musicians, and accompanying visiting international artists on their Canadian appearances. He also composed three preludes, a sonata, a concerto, and two sets of variations, all for piano, and all unpublished, a reflection of his private, unassuming nature. However, it is undoubtedly as a teacher of the piano, from beginner to master pianist, that he made his greatest contributions and will be most remembered. Over a teaching career that spanned more than 70 years, he taught literally thousands of students on a one-on-one basis, sitting beside them on the piano bench. Some came eagerly of their own volition; some came reluctantly by parental decree. Some had considerable talent; others were less musically inclined. Most could afford to pay his modest fees; some could not, but that didn't matter. All that mattered to him was that each pupil was exposed to the magic of music, and that every individual realized their own musical abilities to the greatest extent possible. Under his teaching 24 of these students were awarded the prestigious Aikins Memorial Trophy, emblematic of the top instrumentalist in the Manitoba Music Festival. Some continued their study of music beyond his studio, and a few have gone on to professional careers as performers or music educators throughout Canada, the United States and abroad. Many more have progressed to successful careers in law, medicine, dentistry, government, academia, diplomacy, the arts and business, bringing the enriching experience of music and the discipline of its study to their work in other fields. And this is the true measure of his legacy. If all is well in a land where the King loves music, we have been well served by the life's work of John Melnyk. In lieu of flowers, friends, relatives and former students who so desire may donate to the Winnipeg Music Festival, #2 - 88 St. Anne's Road, R2M 2Y7, towards the John Melnyk Bursary Fund to endow an annual scholarship for the best performance of a piano concerto in the Music Festival each spring. The family wishes to thank the many devoted care givers, medical professionals and hospital staff who cared for John throughout his long period of declining health, and made it possible for him to live out his days in his own home, among the multitude of pianos, music and books to which he had devoted so much of his life. Prayers will be said at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday evening, April 15 at the St. Mary the Protectress Cathedral, 820 Burrows Avenue at Sinclair. Funeral liturgy will be said at 11:00 a.m. Thursday morning, April 16, also at the cathedral with interment to follow at Elmwood Cemetery. Cropo Funeral Chapel in charge of arrangements.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Apr 14, 2009

Condolences & Memories (1 entries)

  • I am saddened to hear about the loss of your loving, gentle husband and father. I spent 11 years in your home and truly appreciated the gift of music I was given and the gift of sharing in your household. I will always remember the hub of activity that surrounded the music. Lessons learned were more than studying Bach, they were watching music and life intertwine in a home full of love, laughter and music. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and how being part of your home is a part of mine. With kindest regards, Penny Scott-Mazur - Posted by: Penny Scott-Mazur (Acquaintance) on: Apr 16, 2009

❮ Go Back to Listings