Award-winning pianist Megumi Masaki is a multifaceted artist, dedicated teacher and interdisciplinary researcher of optimal performance. She is known not only for her dynamic temperament, “imaginative, intelligent and sensitive” (Deseret News) performances and warm rapport with audiences, but also for the breadth and innovation of her artistic activity. Reviewed by Bill Richardson, CBC “The playing was outstanding,” “played the music of [Eckhardt-Gramatté] brilliantly.” Megumi is a passionate advocate of new music, especially committed to integrating emerging technologies in performance to increase interdisciplinary collaboration and expand how concert music is created, played and received.
For over twenty years Masaki has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician with distinguished artists in North America, Europe and Asia, in such venues as the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival, National Arts Centre
Ottawa, Cultural Olympiad Utah, National Museum of Women in Arts Washington, D.C., Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music in Belfast, and the Alte Oper Frankfurt.
Megumi has had works written especially for her by composers including Nicole Lizée, T. Patrick Carrabré, Brent Lee, and has premiered dozens of works worldwide. Explorations into new art expressions and sound-art installations created by a synthesis of live music, electronic and visual media have led to recent collaborations with visual artists Sigi Torinus, Owen Bird, Kevin de Forest and the Noiseborder Ensemble. Devoted to the advancement of Eckhardt-Gramatté’s music, Masaki has recorded CDs of her piano works and the complete works for violin and piano duo with violinist Oleg Pokhanovski, and has published a critical performance edition of her Piano Caprices. She made her film debut in “Appassionata: The Extraordinary Life and Works of Eckhardt-Gramatté” by Paula Kelly
for CBC’s Opening Night. She is also the Artistic Director of the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, the only competition in North America devoted exclusively to contemporary music.
Masaki is frequently recorded for national broadcast by the CBC and in Germany by HR. She has received numerous awards from the Canada Council, Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Manitoba Arts Council, SSHRC and won the Willi-Daume Prize from the National Olympic
Committee Germany for her multidisciplinary project “Music and the Olympic Games.”
Born in Japan, Masaki moved to Winnipeg Canada at age nine and studied with Leonard Isaacs, Marek Jablonski at the Banff Centre and Ronald Turini at the University of Western Ontario, obtaining the
Bachelor of Music Performance with Honours and Master of Music degrees. She was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to further her studies with Kendall Taylor at the Royal College of Music, earning England’s highest academic performance degree at date, the Postgraduate Advanced Studies Diploma.
Masaki is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of training students for the rigors inherent in music careers. Her research has developed a holistic approach to teaching: “Training Pianists as Athletes: A Basic Training Method for Optimal Performance,” resulting in invitations to present at leading international conferences. Her commitment to teaching was recognized with the 2010 Brandon University Alumni Association’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In partnership with rural arts associations, schools and retirement homes, Megumi initiated an education outreach project entitled “Masaki’s Rising Stars” offering performances and workshops to communities where interaction with music is limited. Masaki is in demand to give masterclasses at universities worldwide, is on faculty at the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy, at the Chetham’s International Festival for Pianists in the UK and is Associate Professor of Piano at Brandon University in Canada.
Artist photo supplied by Owen Bird.