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Audience as a Critic - 2019-2020


Meagan Milatz, piano
Amy Hillis, violin

 – Programme –
George Gershwin
Prelude No. 1 in B flat major
André Mathieu
Sonate pour violon et piano
Gabriel Fauré   
Sonate pour violon et piano, No. 1, Op. 13
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Violin Sonata in E minor, No. 21, K. 304
Jocelyn Morlock
Olivier Messiaen
Thème et variations
Claude Debussy
Sonate pour violon et piano
 – Encore –
David L. McIntyre – Sonata for Violin and Piano – Presto spiritoso

 – Young Artist Program –

River Sawchyn, violin
David Moroz, piano

Pablo de Sarasate
Introduction and Tarantella, Op. 43




Wonderful program. Great to hear new Canadian music, and played so vibrantly. (R)

Amazing Women!(BW)

Great stage presence! Contagious Energy! Fun! Loved the Mathieu. (KC)

Very engaging and witty playing. It’s wonderful to hear so much French repertoire played so sensitively. The frame of pairing Canadian and French (German) pieces was very effective. (ME)

What an exciting concert we were privileged to experience on November 23. Meagan Milatz and Amy Hillis were outstanding in their presentation of Mozart, Morlock, Messiaen and Debussy. The program was so well chosen, exciting to hear and presented with knowledge and a sense of joy. Thank you for encouraging young artists and refreshing repertoire. (PT)

Fantastic and inspiring. Thnks for the Canadian content - along with the female content. Spirited, educational and thoroughly entertaining. (DS)

River Sawchyn (Young Artist) playing Sarasate and a fiddle tune! Delightful way to start the evening! Thanks River!
Meagan and Amy are amazing musicians, most sensitive musical playing and then bravura in driving rhythmic passages. Loved the GershwinFauré—Definitely relayed the “French” sound that Fauré and his contemporaries espoused. The André Mathieu was lovely with contrasting rhythmic punctuation, especially by Meagan on the piano! Those two ladies are a perfect pair in communicating with their audience. Both so sensitive to each other’s playing.  Mozart—Beautifully played.  Morlock– Alba (Dawn) Interesting contemporary work. Thanks for your explanations through the concert.  Messiaen—Great contrast of dynamics, long sweeping phrases. First time I’ve heard this piece and it was full of contrasts.  Debussy—Absolutely delightful DebussyDavid McIntyre—Dynamic touches of humour.  Burgundy gowns lovely! All the best in the rest of your Canadian tour you are a delightful pair to hear and watch!  Thanks “Saskies”. (MJM)

Reflections by 3 students in Professor Harry Strub’s course, “Psychology and the Arts”

a.      Driving towards The University of Winnipeg, I was unsure of what to think – I had never experienced live classical music, and in general, I had very limited experience with classical music. Whenever I had listened to classical music previously, it had been in the background while I studied. It was like wallpaper, never had I given it my full attention.

As the music began, I found that between the violinist and the pianist, there was a sort of dialogue. This feeling continued, but evolved: no longer was the dialogue between the musicians, I felt it was between the composer and the audience. By this I mean that I found myself wondering ‘what was the composer trying to express?’ I felt as if I was watching a play unfold, at times I saw scenes of romance, at others scenes of mental breakdown. I saw the push and pull of life, the way floods of emotion can be triggered at the drop of a hat, even after long periods of dormancy. I noticed at times the pianist was the star, at others, the violinist.

I felt the insight that music truly was the language of emotion. That it expresses the inexpressible. I recalled reading this in Sacks (Musicophilia), and understanding it in passing, but now I felt I understood it on a much deeper level.

In all, I felt I gained the most insight from the first three pieces (Gershwin, Mathieu, Fauré). I enjoyed Mozart the most, it was truly beautiful. Yet, following Mozart, I felt a bit of a disconnect.: Mozart offered so much beauty that with Morlock directly after, she could not compare in that regard, and was outshone. Obviously, I get the impression that Morlock had a different objective; yet I felt myself longing for the beauty of Mozart. If that can be offered why do anything else? I suppose this is where my lack of classical education shows itself. On that topic I found the Messiaen and Debussy pretty much revolting. It evoked strong feelings, certainly, which is of note – but not positive ones. They reminded me of the score of a horror movie. In all though, I found that I had a great time, and would be interested in seeing more live classical music sometime. The cookies, punch, and wine were a nice touch as well.

Regarding the pre-concert talk, I will add, it was not helpful for me whatsoever. I say this because the talk was characterized by extensive jargon, which for the wholly uninitiated (like myself), was a barrier to entry. Talk of composers and their influences and styles, and even more basic talk of “keys” and “minors and majors,” fell on (my) deaf ears. To me this was an entirely different language; the talk was largely incomprehensible. This is absolutely due to my complete ignorance in the field, so for others, I’m sure it was appreciated. But if you want my honest opinion, due to my lack of expertise the talk was not helpful. This experience deterred me from talking to the musicians after the show, as I was made aware just how completely out of my element I was, and so I felt too intimidated to talk to the musicians. I don’t even know what a ‘movement’ is – what could I possibly say? Intellectually, the comprehension of the pieces was zilch; it was wholly emotional – which I have trouble expressing even now, 16 hours later. Regardless, overall, l I enjoyed myself and would like to learn much more about classical music, as the talk sounded interesting, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed myself exponentially more if I had some education in the topic.

b.      The concert, Meagan&Amy, which took place in the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall at the University of Winnipeg, was my first live concert experience as far as I can remember. Prior to this, my musical experience was through listening to recordings and watching concerts on TV and YouTube. The music that was on the program was what is called “classical” music and it explored connections between classical Canadian compositions and the traditional standard classical music. The instruments that were used were the violin and the piano by Amy and Meagan respectively. Of the several pieces played, I really liked the piece by André Mathieu because it was quite flow-y, smooth, and overall gentle, and I could follow along with the melody. The other pieces were new to me but just as exciting and pleasant as the André Mathieu. I especially enjoyed the violin solo parts of Jocelyn Morlock piece. I also liked the intro to this piece, a grand entrance that figuratively just filled me with anticipation for the rest of the song. Despite my lack of musical knowledge, as compared to the audience, I could tell the notes were very clean and precise, and the performances of both artists were excellent. However, due to my lack of experience with live concert performances, I found the facial expressions and the artist’ movements distracting at times. However, I was informed by my friend, Ryan, that those are the little details the artists add to enhance the visual effects of their performances.

I also noticed that when the artists finished a couple of pieces, they left the stage and then entered again. I found it strange, but I assumed it was because of the overwhelming round of applause from the audience that the artists felt obligated to show their appreciation by returning to the stage. When it happened again, I had to discuss it with Ryan. He explained that somewhere in the history of live musical performance some artist started the practice, it achieved what he/she wanted, and the practice became the normal one for the artists.

As my first classical music concert experience, I noticed that most of the audiences were older people. I wonder if it takes a certain maturity to really appreciate the nuances of classical music or that most members of younger generations have not been properly exposed to classical music from a young age? I feel, today, students and other young people are attracted to whatever music is new, exciting and rebellious, regardless of the genre. Also, it might be that nowadays the school systems and society in general place a great emphasis on sciences and technology and ignore the fact that arts exposure is also important to be a well-rounded individual.

Although I cannot speak to the technique of each piece, I think overall the concert pieces were lovely and both Meagan and Amy executed them very well. Overall, my Virtuosi concert experience showed that music is not static, but dynamic, evolving, and changing. It is important to continue to support and experience classical concerts so we can benefit and appreciate this completely awesome form of art. I believe every era has its timeless creations which we will continue to look back on, appreciate, and build on.

c.          I believe the university is super lucky to host this type of event with such a high level of talent. I am not a very musical person myself and do not have much experience, but I really enjoyed my time at the concert. I thought it was cool that they had (Young Artist) River Sawchyn open the concert. It is most likely a very good opportunity for such a young artist and to give others a chance to showcase their talent. My favourite part was the beginning of Amy and Meagan’s performance, George Gershwin, I believe, which was the cheeky back and forth “banter” of the piano and violin. It is clear these artists are passionate about music and very knowledgeable, they told a story of Canadian music, gave us little facts about the composers, and highlighted thematic parts of the music to pay attention to (even if I am not musically talented enough to know what they were talking about). Plus, there’s snacks and wine at intermission! What more you could ask for!