Pianist and music educator Tabitha Payzant hails from the small town of Baxters Harbour, Nova Scotia. During her early musical studies, Tabitha was a regular participant in the Annapolis Valley Regional Music Festival and was awarded first prize in the CFMTA provincial composition contest for two consecutive years (2009 and 2010). In 2012 she moved to New Brunswick to complete her Bachelor of Music degree at Mount Allison University, studying under Stephen Runge and Lynn Johnson. During her time at Mount Allison, Tabitha earned multiple awards, including the H.P. and L.G. Patterson Scholarship, the Mount Allison Outstanding Grade Point Average Scholarship, the Florence Webb Tate Prize, and the James Noel Brunton Memorial Award, in addition to winning gold in the NBRMTA Competition in 2015.
After finishing her BMus, Tabitha packed her bags for Newfoundland, and has since completed two Masters of Music degrees in Piano Performance and Piano Performance/Pedagogy at Memorial University. At MUN, Tabitha studied under Timothy Steeves, a member of the renowned Duo Concertante and Co-Artistic Director of the Tuckamore Music Festival. During her studies, Tabitha completed four solo recitals and performed in multiple masterclasses, including her performances of Schumann’s ‘Carnaval Op. 9’ for Raphael Lustchevsky and Andrew Armstrong.
In early 2020 Tabitha was invited to present a solo piano concert for the Music in the Garden Room series at Acadia University, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic truly hit the province. The following summer, Tabitha performed in the Prelude Concert during the 2020 Online Tuckamore Festival in collaboration with Shane Tetford. Since 2017, Tabitha has worked for the Tuckamore Music Festival and proudly wears the title of Festival Manager. She has also been employed at Memorial University as a per-course instructor of Functional Keyboard from 2018 until 2023.
In March of 2023, Tabitha released her debut album ‘Back at it’, which explores the journey of returning to performance after an existential crises regarding a career in the arts during the COVID pandemic. This release awarded her a Music NL nomination for Classical Artist of the year.
Although she is generally a busy bee, Tabitha has always maintained a small but mighty private piano studio and has been working at the Jen Benson School of Music since September of 2023. When Tabitha is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her cat Maurice, and two dogs, Opus, and Poco!