Weyburn pianist on top-30 list of musicians

Pianist Meagan Milatz has been named as one of the best 30 classical musicians in Canada under the age of 30, in a ranking by CBC Music released last week.

Born and raised on a farm near Weyburn, Milatz was a piano student for 13 years with piano teacher Cherith Alexander, and after graduating from the Weyburn Comprehensive School, went on to McGill University where she graduated with her Masters degree two years ago.

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Now living and working in Montreal, Milatz said she was “excited” that she was named on this list, and didn’t know she had made it until she got a call about a month ago from CBC Music journalist Robert Rowat. He sent her a list of 30 questions, “about what musical activities I’ve been up to, my highlights, and even what I like to do in my free time.”

She noted she met Rowat when she did a recording for CBC Radio with violinst Amy Hillis, with whom she will be embarking on a tour across Canada starting in mid-September.

Having her name on a list of “30 hot classical musicians under 30” helps get her name out there, she said, and with her upcoming tour with Hillis to start in a month’s time, it will hopefully help bring people out to hear them perform.

“We’ll be coming to a city pretty much near everyone,” said Milatz. The tour will be coming to Weyburn, and will be part of the Weyburn Concert Series on Nov.29 at the Cugnet Centre.

Her former teacher was not surprised in the least that she was put on such a prestigious list, as Alexander noted if the list were up to her, Meagan would’ve been put on it when she was 12, when she completed her ARCT with the Conservatory, “which is pretty spectacular.”

“I started teaching Meagan when she was five, and before that I taught her older sister Danica, and I taught her through to Grade 12,” she said, noting she and Meagan then spent the next five years doing university-level material until she was done high school and moved on to McGill University.

In those five years, Milatz competed four times at a national level, and was present when Milatz performed a concerto with the Regina Symphony Orchestra in May, a fulfillment of a childhood dream, as this was the first orchestra she ever heard play as a child.

“She was the consummate professional, and she was so comfortable in her playing,” said Alexander of the Regina concert, noting she was able to attend the rehearsal with the orchestra.

“The musicians with the orchestra were very impressed with her. She did a spectacular job and made me very proud,” said Alexander. “This girl is amazingly talented. … She’s doing big things. It’s really remarkable, and she’s just so incredibly humble and is very grounded.”

She said with the success and achievements coming Meagan’s way, this will not change her.

Alexander also saw her perform with the Edmonton Symphony three years ago, and noted when she was 12, she played with the Sherbrooke orchestra in Quebec. When Meagan was 18, she won the grand prize from the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers, which was a particularly proud and “wonderful moment” for her teacher.

Milatz spent the last four weeks as a collaborative pianist at a summer master class program for violinists, which brought violin teachers from Canada and Europe, and she wrapped up that program over the weekend.

“It’s been really rewarding. When you get a bunch of musicians, it’s so inspiring when the others are so passionate about music,” she said.

She will be moving on to do a residency in New Hampshire with Hillis, which will give the two young women some quality rehearsal time for their upcoming tour.

“It’ll be perfect for us, without too much other things going on, plus it’s not too far from Montreal, so we’ll rent a car and have a road trip down,” said Milatz.

A top prizewinner at the 2014 Shean Piano Competition and the 2011 CFMTA National Piano Competition, her performance endeavours have brought her to international stages, including Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; Bruges, Belgium; Gijón, Spain; and Gdańsk, Poland. She received her Master’s degree from McGill University where she studied modern piano with Ilya Poletaev and fortepiano with Tom Beghin. In 2017, Milatz was a participant in the famed Kneisel Hall Young Artist Program, and is a 2017 Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award recipient.

To see the full list of the top 30 classical musicians under 30, go to this link: