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Sukin Series

Mackenzie Melemed: Rachmaninoff at Carnegie

Dec 1, 2022


The Billings Depot

2310 Montana Ave.

$20 - $40

Internationally acclaimed pianist Mackenzie Melemed has played in esteemed venues from the White House to Beijing, his passion for music ignited by a $1 keyboard his grandfather bought him at a yard sale. Melemed will perform selections from Rachmaninoff’s November 7, 1942 Carnegie Hall recital—the great pianist’s final solo recital at the world’s most famous concert hall. Chamber ensemble works with Billings Symphony musicians will round out the program.

Mackenzie Melemed: Rachmaninoff at Carnegie
Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022 | 7PM
Billings Depot

Mackenzie Melemed, piano
Randy Tracy, violin
Megan Karls, violin
Amy Letson, viola
Cody Byrum, cello


Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BMV 825
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
La soirée dans Grenade
Jardins sous la pluie

Études-Tableaux, op. 39
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943)
IV. B Minor
V. E-Flat Minor
VI. A Minor
IX. D Major


Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, op. 52
Frederic Chopin (1810–1849)

Florence Price (1887–1953)

Piano Quintet in A Minor
Florence Price (1887–1953)
Allegro non troppo
Andante con moto
Juba. Allegro
Scherzo. Allegro—Coda



Winner of The Juilliard School’s 2019 Leo B. Ruiz Carnegie Hall Recital Prize, 2018 Arthur Rubinstein Prize, the Jade Medal at the 2019 China International Music Competition, and the first prize and chamber music prize at Finland’s 2017 Maj Lind International Piano Competition, 26-year-old American pianist Mackenzie Melemed’s international career continues to flourish. Praised by the New York Times as an “excellent young pianist” Melemed has performed throughout the United State, Europe, and Asia, in venues such as The White House (2004–2008), Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, and the Helsinki Music Centre. ​

After falling with the “strange language full of double consonants and vowels” during a 23-hour layover in 2012, he studied the Finnish language at Columbia University while pursuing Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Artist’s Diploma (the highest level of study in performance) at The Juilliard School with Robert McDonald and Emanuel Ax. In August 2020, Melemed moved to Finland, where he has established a new home base and launched his successful performance career with nearly all the country’s orchestras and in the major music festivals—despite the persistent pandemic lockdowns and restrictions.

With the help of Diana Glimm, the Altson family, and financial support offered by The Juilliard School and the American Pianists Association, Melemed commissioned a new Piano Concerto from Israeli-American composer Avner Dorman, which premiered in May 2022. The project is ongoing, with plans for premieres on 3 continents.

Mackenzie Melemed is a Steinway Artist. More information on his recordings and upcoming performances can be found at


H. Randolph Tracy received his musical training in Colorado and New York, and festivals in Aspen and Tanglewood. He is a soloist, conductor, chamber musician, concertmaster and symphony orchestra violinist.

A founding member of the Red Lodge Chamber Players, he has performed with the Fort Collins Symphony, Denver Symphony, Central City Opera, Wyoming Symphony, String Orchestra of the Rockies, the Yellowstone Chamber Players, and his Celtic band “Glynfiddle,” who released their first CD in 2002. In 2021 he joined the artists of the New Harmony Music Festival.

He is currently the Concertmaster of the Billings Symphony Orchestra, and the conductor of the Billings Symphony Youth Repertory Orchestra. He teaches at RMC, MSUB, and formerly, the Red Lodge Music Festival, with many award- and scholarship-winning students to his credit.


Violinist Megan Karls is the Associate Concertmaster of the Billings Symphony, Co-Concertmaster of the Great Falls Symphony and a frequent guest concertmaster with the Bozeman Symphony, Intermountain Opera and the String Orchestra of the Rockies. She holds degrees with honors in Violin Performance and Political Science from Lawrence University and the University of Iowa. Karls is a past recipient of the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award and the first woman in classical music to be awarded the Montana Arts Council’s Artist Innovation Award for her debut video album, Decommissioned: Solo Violin in Cold War Relics.

Her latest solo video album, Re-Envisioned: Montana Composers in Mission Churches is out now and available at the Billings Symphony office.


Amy Letson has been a member of the Billings Symphony for 24 years, and has served as its principal violist since 2002. She received her degree in viola performance from Indiana University, following which she served as principal violist in the Bloomington Symphony, and section violist in the Anderson Symphony, Muncie Symphony, and Marion Philharmonic. She performed frequently with the Yellowstone Chamber Players and Rimrock Opera, and is a member of the String Orchestra of the Rockies. Amy recently relocated to Minneapolis where she plays with the Mississippi Valley Orchestra, calls and plays for contradances, fiddles for Morris dancing, and knits.


After starting violin lessons with his mother, Cody chose the cello in an effort to sit as much as possible! At age fourteen he began his formal studies with Dr. Jonathan Ruck (University of Oklahoma), shortly afterwards making his solo debut, performing the Lalo Cello Concerto with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. After graduating with distinction from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Music, Cody went on to pursue a Master and Doctor of Music at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music with Professor Emilio Colón. An active educator, Cody maintains a private studio and travels the country as a guest clinician, and in Spring 2022, was announced as principal cello of the Billings Symphony. Cody plays on a cello made by Paolo Vettori in 2018, crafted with Italian wood from 1828, and a John Dodd bow from 1805.