Mel Powell (born Melvin Epstein) (February 12, 1923 – April 24, 1998) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, and the founding dean of the music department at the California Institute of the Arts. He served as a music educator for over 40 years, first at Mannes College of Music and Queens College, then Yale University, and finally at CalArts. During his early career he worked as a jazz pianist.
Mel Powell was born Melvin D. Epstein on February 12, 1923, in The Bronx, New York City to Russian Jewish parents, Milton Epstein and Mildred Mark Epstein. He began playing piano at age four, taking lessons from, among others, Nadia Reisenberg.