Award-winning pianist Megumi Masaki’s innovation and breadth of her artistic activity, dynamic temperament and “riveting and mind-expanding”(Fréttabladid 2013) performances have earned her a reputation as a leading interpreter of contemporary music. She specializes in exploring how sound, image, text and movement can be integrated in multimedia works.
Megumi frequently collaborates with composers, visual artists, writers and choreographers on transdisciplinary projects involving new technologies to enhance the dynamic interaction between creator and performer and to recontextualize how concert works for the piano are created, performed and received. Numerous piano, multimedia (piano + interactive and fixed electronics + video + text + movement + unconventional instruments) and chamber works have been composed for Megumi and her MUSIC 4 EYES & EARS projects, and she has premiered over 70 works worldwide. One highlight, Hitchcock Études by Nicole Lizée commissioned and performed by Megumi Masaki was selected to represent Canada at the ISCM World Music Days in Poland 2014.
Megumi is featured as a soloist at major festivals and venues around the world, including recently at The Barbican Centre’s Sound Unbound Festival UK, De Doelen in Rotterdam NL, Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music Paris (IRCAM), JUNOfest Classical Showcase, Sonorities Festival Belfast, Bangor Music Festival, St Andrews New Music Week, Royal Academy of Music’s Discovery & Development Series, CoLab Festival Trinity Laban London, Royal College of Music, Oxford University Magdalen College Arts Week, Dark Music Days Festival Reykjavik, Hartt School, Winnipeg New Music Festival, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, and National Art Gallery Ottawa. Megumi has also performed extensively as a chamber musician with distinguished artists including the Penderecki Quartet, Borealis Quartet, Gewandhaus Orchestra soloists, Shauna Rolston, Yuri Hooker, Paul Marleyn, Oleg Pokhanovski, Koh Gabriel Kameda, Anne Shih and Valdine Anderson.
Megumi is a member of the Noiseborder Ensemble which has presented more than 20 original Canadian multimedia pieces featuring a combination of acoustic and electronic instruments, as well as live processing and mixing of sound and video. She is also a member of the Slingshot-Kidõ Ensemble that explores the creation of works involving a theatrical-dance-gestural-electroacoustic interdisciplinary approach to piano “shows” for traditional and non-traditional performance spaces.
Megumi 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.”
Devoted to the advancement of Manitoba composer Eckhardt-Gramatté’s music, Megumi has performed and championed her works worldwide. She 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 is presenting working on a critical edition of Eckhardt-Gramatté’s complete Piano Sonatas for the CMC. Megumi also made her film debut as music historical researcher and piano performer in “Appassionata: The Extraordinary Life and Works of Eckhardt-Gramatté” by Paula Kelly for CBC’s Opening Night. Since 2006, she is also the Artistic Director for the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition.
Megumi has served on the jury for the JUNO Awards, Western Canadian Music Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Manitoba Arts Council, and several regional, national and international competitions. She is an invited member of the Banff Centre’s Classical Music Programmes Advisory Group, an elected voting member of the Canadian Music Centre Prairie Region, MB Representative on the Canadian New Music Network’s Board of Directors, Scientific Committee Member of the London International Piano Symposium and on the Arts Advisory Panel Manitoba Arts Council.
Megumi is on faculty for piano and chamber music at the Casalmaggiore International Festival Italy and the Co-Director of its Contemporary International Musical Exchange Series. Megumi is Professor of Piano, director of the New Music Ensemble and New Music Festival at Brandon University.
Community engagement and collaboration is a major priority for Megumi. In partnership with rural Manitoba arts associations, schools and retirement homes, in 2007 she founded a bi-annual education outreach project entitled “Masaki’s Rising Stars,” offering performances and workshops to rural Manitoba communities where interaction with music, especially Canadian and new music is limited. Megumi and “Masaki’s Rising Stars” have performed for hundreds of school children, seniors and local audiences, has helped raise awareness and funds for specific music needs of rural communities, and has provided pedagogical and performance workshops for many local teachers and young piano students. Megumi also performs in numerous community-oriented concerts at Brandon University and the area, for the International Red Cross, Knox United Church in Winnipeg and the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Association.
Megumi is also recognized as an innovative teacher whose students have established successful performing and teaching careers. She is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of training students for the rigors inherent in music careers. Through interdisciplinary research since 2001, she 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.
Megumi is in demand to give masterclasses at universities worldwide, is on faculty since 2009 at the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy (founded in partnership with the Oberlin Conservatory USA) and alongside renowned pianists including Peter Donohoe, Joanna Macgregor, Nelita True was invited to the faculty at the Chetham’s International Festival for Pianists in Manchester UK.
Megumi is Professor of Piano at Brandon University in Canada and director of the Brandon University New Music Ensemble and annual New Music Festival. She has brought internationally recognized composers, visual and performing artists from Mexico City, Reykjavik, Windsor, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal to Brandon to give public lectures, workshops and presentations on and off campus. Her success in teaching was recognized with the 2010 Brandon University Alumni Association’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
2010 Brandon University Alumni Association’s Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Student distinctions (selected)
- Elin Arnardottir, M. Mus Piano Performance and Literature, 2016. Taught 2013-2016. Music teacher at the Reykjavik Music Conservatory, Iceland.
- Everett Hopfner. B.Mus. Brandon University 2010. Governor-General’s Silver Medal for AcademicExcellence. Taught at Brandon University 2006-2010 and at Casalmaggiore International Music Festival 2009-present. Supervised A.R.C.T. Diploma 2008 in Piano Performance, Royal Conservatory of Music. External awards: 2013 1st Prize Winner E-Gré National Music Competition; 2010 Third Prize Winner, Knigge National Music Competition; 2009 Third Place Canadian Music Competition National Finals (21-under Piano Class), Montréal; 2008 & 2007 Third and second Prize, WMC of Winnipeg; 1st place Snjolaug Sigurdon Memorial Scholarship. Further graduate studies: completed M. Mus New Music 2015 (Musikhochschule Stuttgart), K.A. Diploma (Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt. http://everetthopfner.com
- Brendan Jacklin. B.Mus. with Highest Honours, Brandon University 2011. Taught 2007-2011. External scholarships: 2010 Kaye and G.R. Rowe Memorial Scholarship; 2010 Canadian Music Scholarship; 2010 Westman Communications Group Scholarship; 2010 Super Trifty Drugs Canada Scholarship; 2010 National Music Festival Finalist. Further graduate studies: M.Mus. Piano Performance, Bowling Green State University, 2013. He is presently a student in progress, Doctor of Musical Arts program in Piano Performance, University of Cincinnati. http://brendanjacklin.weebly.com/
- Jesse Plessis, M.Mus. Piano Performance and Literature, 2013. Taught 2010-2013. External scholarships received under my supervision: Edith Munroe and Westman Communications Group (2011), WMC Winnipeg Holtby (2011). Sessional instructor at the University of Lethbirdge, DMA studies in progress at the Université de Montréal and artistic director of the Centric Festival in Lethbridge AB. soundcloud.com/jesse-plessis
- Ying Tang, M.Mus. 2010. Taught 2007-2009. Ying is teaching piano at the Nanjing Arts Institute, China.
- Satomi Tozawa, M.Mus. 2009. Taught 2007-2009. Further graduate studies: MA (ethnomusicology), University of Alberta 2011. Satomi is a full-time lecturer in music at the Kushiro Career College Japan.
- George Waddell, Mus. 2012 (BU Gold Medal for M.Mus.) Taught 2006-2012. Advisor of graduate research paper “A Survey of Philip Glass’ Keyboard Repertoire” Funded by a Manitoba Graduate Scholarship (2011-2012). B.Mus. 2010. Supervised A.R.C.T Diploma in Piano Performance 2010, Royal Conservatory of Music Toronto. 2008 Winner of the Brandon University Concerto Competition. External scholarships: Westman Communications Group (2008), Snjolaug Sigurdon Memorial (2010). George is presently a student in progress, Ph.D. Performance Science (start September 2012), Royal College of Music London. Research Associate in Performance Science at the Royal College of Music. http://www.rcm.ac.uk/cps/people/waddell/