Born in New Jersey to a Korean mother and Italian father, Dr. Melissa Coppola is the first professional musician of her family. Classically trained in piano from the age of 5, she won her first competition at 10 years old with Chopin’s Minute Waltz and made her Carnegie Hall debut just two years later. As a teen, she had the opportunity to perform as a Steinway Gallery student representative at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, opening for pianist Evgeny Kissin.
After graduating from high school, Melissa moved to New York City where she attended Manhattan School of Music, studying piano performance with Jeffrey Cohen. After earning her Bachelor's Degree, she moved to Ann Arbor, MI to begin her career as a professional pianist and educator. She received her MM and DMA from the University of Michigan studying under Logan Skelton.
Coppola is passionate about interdisciplinary performance. She is the recipient of multiple awards and grants for her concert series, [perspective], which re-envisions the traditional piano recital as an immersive, multi-sensory experience. Her dissertation, Young People's Perspective: Exploring Experiential Benefits of Interdisciplinary Concerts for Teen Performers focuses on researching innovative ways of conducting group piano classes by fostering cross-modal understanding of music and involving students directly in the concert planning process. Her research is sponsored by a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards granted by U-M Rackham Graduate School.
Melissa is a versatile musician, dabbling in multiple genres and fulfilling many different roles as both a performing and recording artist. She plays drums and sings lead in the rock duo JUNGLEFOWL. She is the pianist and Co-founder of the classical crossover duo, Night Owl Transatlantic, with Armenian-American violinist Henrik Karapetyan.
Melissa is also Co-founder and former Executive Director of Girls Rock Detroit, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering creative expression, positive self-esteem, and community awareness for girls, women, gender expansive, and transgender people through music education and performance.
BM Piano Performance 2008, Manhattan School of Music
MM Piano Performance 2016, University of Michigan
DMA Performance & Pedagogy 2021, University of Michigan