Meagan Cook has played music at Carnegie Hall before. She has even played at Carnegie Hall at Christmas time before. This is not a first, and it will not be the last time Cook plays for a large audience, full of teachers, coaches, professional musicians, her fellow ingenues from around the globe in a puffy, petticoated velvet dress. She has only just started to wow crowds of other talented people with her masterful skills, which come as a result of her devotion and love for her instrument: the piano.
She is the daughter of a professional guitarist, who played for equally large audiences in his youth. He has been likened by fans to Edie Van Halen, for his speed and deftness with the strings. His youngest daughter Meagan is no different. When Meagan dragged a keyboard across the floor to her dad and asked him to teach her to play it, her studies took flight. She was 4 at that point. Now, at the age of 8, she particularly loves playing high-brow classics for groups of awestruck adults. If you ask her on a hard day what her favorite thing to do is, she will say “playing the piano.” If you ask her on a beautiful, sunny day (of which there are no shortage in her native Costa Rica) she will answer the same way. If you ask her multiple times, just to make sure this eight year old genius is speaking from the heart and not some cutesy script, she might throw in that she likes to write her own songs and sing with her older sister. Regardless, it’s music. She likes to play with her friends and enjoys art class, but the piano is her greatest source of accomplishment, and the feeling of accomplishing things makes her want to get bigger and better results. This girl has the Olympian mentality.
Listening to Meagan play is magnificent, but having the sheer luck to have been invited to watch her play on the perfect acoustic, warmly-lit stage at Carnegie Hall, that was something of magic. Unlike many of her peers, Meagan comes on stage, curtsies, and immediately begins to play. There is no adjusting her seat or fidgeting or taking a deep breath; she simply starts to play her heart out in the form if Beethoven or Bach. Cook knows exactly what she is doing and she does it -even the most complex of maneuvers- to the t, based on practice having made her nearly, if not totally perfect. She is a performer and she loves it.
Meagan, the first place winner of the American Protégé Award, was the second award recipient to get on the stage in a two-hour long concert. She amazed the audience with her stage presence, confidence, professionalism, mannerisms, and yes, talent, which made her a sight to behold as well as listen to to the last split second. Cook exited with grace and poise, just as she had entered onto the stage.
After the concert, she took her award and, sleepily kept dropping it and giggling among the older kids and adults who were receiving their certificates. She was available for pictures with the gold gilded piano, on stage, and in the swanky red velvet upholstered waiting room, but as the clock struck 11:00pm, she put on her white polka dotted faux-fur dress coat and, with one hand to her flushed forehead said “no more pictures!” She requested a donut and her bed. So ended her second concert at New York City’s most famous concert hall.