Kathryn Merriam grew up enveloped in music; her parents founded and own one of the most highly renowned and respected piano retail and music education centers in North America. Music welled within her from an early age and she flirted with a number of instruments. Once she experienced an epiphanous moment of pure expression with the piano during a performance, the piano and her voice became her muses of expression. Kathryn’s taste for variety and her desire to develop a sound basis of fundamentals and technique compelled her to train classically, as well as in jazz.
Her path soon led her to Brigham Young University, where she studied for a B.A. in music. While completing her degree, Kathryn performed in the internationally recognized big band Synthesis with Ray Smith as director, Kelly Eisenhower’s Jazz Voices ensemble, and lent her talents to a number of trios and combos on campus, including her own group, the Kathryn Merriam Trio. In a community rich with musical talent, she shone with her technical skill, creativity and emotive performances, and won many admirers.
Then with her diploma in hand, Kathryn sought to continue her study of the Chinese language, whose musical quality drew her interest. She bade farewell to her established musical community to embark on a journey to study in the Sichuan province of China. For six months, she lived and performed in Chengdu, but on a short holiday to Beijing, it struck her that the bustling capital offered her the opportunity to establish a music career in a burgeoning jazz scene. Without hesitating, she took a plane back to Beijing with her keyboard in the seat next to her—her only companion to a new city. She arrived without a support system, but quickly made a name for herself in the vast music circles of locals, foreigners, and expatriates alike. Kathryn took any opportunity to meet new musicians, explore new genres, and perform in local venues. She toured and performed solo, pop, and jazz gigs; played in a funk band, trios, and quartets; sang for a classical/experimental/improvisational guitar trio; and lent her talents to a number of other groups and ensembles.
Her multifarious experiences have inspired her as an artist and she now seeks even more opportunities to perform, collaborate, inspire, teach, and connect with musicians and artists in the Toronto area.