Hometown concert set for Weyburn pianist and violinist

Pianist Meagan Milatz is coming home to perform, and she’s bringing her friend, violinist Amy Hillis with her to play as meagan&amy, a classical music duo who began a national 50-concert tour in mid-September.

The pair will be presented by Prairie Debut as part of the Weyburn Concert Series on Friday, Nov. 29 at the Cugnet Centre, starting at 7:30 p.m., the last concert for 2019 before the season picks up again in the new year.

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“It’s been great,” said Meagan of the tour so far. “It’s been nice to be able to play pieces we think people will like.”

Amy noted they have played in a wide variety of venues so far, from concert halls (such as in Moncton) to playing in a private home in New Brunswick, to a beautiful old church in PEI, and they’ve had a really good response from their audiences so far.

“There’s something for everyone,” said Meagan of their music selection.

Amy noted they have been trying to explore a Canadian identity in classical music with the variety of music and composers they choose to play. Some pieces come out of B.C., some from Saskatchewan, and some are from Quebec where they both currently live (in Montreal).

The Saskatchewan-based music is a piece by Regina composer David McIntyre. Meagan performed in May with the Regina Symphony Orchestra as part of their 110th anniversary. The performance was a childhood dream, as she was the soloist in David McIntyre's Piano Concerto No. 1, conducted by Gordon Gerrard.

“For me, I always love coming back and playing David’s music, and I’m really excited to play it here,” said Meagan, noting many of her family and friends will be coming to the concert. She also noted she and Amy are hoping to spend some time with McIntyre to play for him and get his input on their performance.

They began their partnership in 2011 at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, even though both are from Saskatchewan, and they’ve both worked with a wide range of other musicians. They have also both won numerous awards and music competitions in their respective fields.

Meagan was a top prize-winner at the 2014 Shean Piano Competition and the 2011 CFMTA National Piano Competition, while Amy was a winner of the 2018 Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition, the 2017 McGill Concerto Competition, the Sylva Gelber Foundation Music Award, and a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Meagan graduated with her master’s degree from McGill in 2017, and earlier this year she was named by CBC music journalist Robert Rowat as one of the “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30”.

The two young women will be sharing lots of stories and being interactive with the audience.

“We talk between the pieces to give our ideas about them, so it’s not just playing. We do try to contextualize the music,” said Amy.

She was in Weyburn last year with the Horizon String Quartet, and they are inviting the students of Assiniboia Park who heard them play to come out and hear their concert.

Meagan is also excited that they will be going to play for a longtime music teacher, June Barber, at Hill Top Manor on the day of the concert.

The duo will end their tour at the end of May with a concert in Iqaluit, which will be a first for both of them to perform in the Far North.