Kessa Mefford is an award-winning pianist specializing in the music of Maurice Ravel. Kessa gave her Carnegie Hall debut in December 2022 with a historic program; “Ravel: All of It,” the complete art songs of Ravel with soprano Kristina Cook. Kessa has started two concert series: “Whimsical Birdsong,” based out of New York in which she performs and collaborates with others in presenting the complete works of Ravel that include piano, and "Piano at Noon", based in her hometown of Peekskill as an effort to bring more classical music to the community. In 2023, Kessa gave her radio debut with Cook performing Ravel on New York’s WQXR in a special episode of Young Artist Showcase featuring pianist/singer duos.
Kessa has performed “Ravel: All of It” in venues all around the United States with Cook. She has given masterclasses and lectures at universities on the interpretation of art song and pianist/singer collaboration, as well as lectures specifically on the history and interpretation of Ravel’s songs. She is also a performing artist with the Piatigorsky Foundation, whose mission is to bring classical music to underserved communities all around the USA. Concerto credits include Beethoven’s 2nd Piano Concerto and Mozart’s 23rd Piano Concerto with the Taconic Opera Chamber Orchestra in Westchester, with performances of Ravel's Concerto in G Major and a new premiere of Dan Montez's concerto in C Minor upcoming in May 2024 at the Tarrytown Music Hall.
At the end of 2019, Kessa released her debut album with Whole Note Publishing featuring the live performance of the Beethoven concerto as well as other works performed live in 2016 by Scriabin, Bach, Menotti, and Scarlatti. Her second album, “Ravel: All of It” was released in 2022 with Kristina Cook. She is currently working on two more albums, a solo piano program; “Gaspard de la nuit,” featuring works by Ravel, Bach, Andres, and Montez, and “Masters of Impression,” an album of solo piano, chamber music, and art song by Ravel, Montez, and Faure.
Kessa received an MM in piano performance from the Mannes School of Music in May 2020, graduating with the prestigious Steinway Award for exceptional pianists with excellent artistry and service to the school and fellow students. She received multiple generous music merit scholarships while studying under Simone Dinnerstein. Through Mannes, Kessa was able to participate in the Neighborhood Classics concert series organized by Dinnerstein. She also performed in several Mannes Sounds Festival concerts, including “Bach’s Footsteps," two years in a row, as well as concerts featuring the works of female composers such as Clara Schumann and Amy Beach. Kessa received a BM in piano performance in August 2017 at Brigham Young University, where she received several academic and music merit scholarships. While at BYU, she studied with Dr. Richard Anderson and Dr. Irene Peery-Fox.
Kessa has participated in countless recitals, concerts, and master classes. 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. When Kessa is not practicing, she is training in her black belt classes in karate, playing video games, or spending time with her husband and two cats.