Pianist's music reaches global audiences

Multi-talented pianist Sarah Hagen always knew she wanted to be a performer.

“When I was 9-years-old, I said ‘when I grow up I am going to play at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.’” she said.

Hagen will be performing with Robyn Driedger-Klassen at the Port Theatre tonight (Feb. 13) as part of their Classical Coffee Concert series.

Hagen, a graduate from the University of Waterloo, with a handful of respected musicians including Ariel Barnes, Nancy DiNovo, Ken Lavigne, Trio Accord, Ballet Victoria and the Emily Carr String Quartet.

“All my siblings and my parents took piano and my dad sang,” Hagen said. “That was just a part of our lives and so I just started playing like anybody else.”

Last year Hagen placed first in the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition. As a result she was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York.

“It was exciting. There were other prize winners on the concert so I met other pianists from all over the world and I am still in touch with a few of them,” Hagen said. “It was a little bit nerve-racking but it felt kind of special to be there.”

The University of Waterloo graduate has released two albums, Glass House Dancing and Devoted: Music of Robert and Clara Schumann. Glass House Dancing, was nominated for Classical Recording of the Year at the 2009 Western Canadian Music Awards.

Hagen’s music currently receives airplay in Alberta, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington State, Sweden and on CBC Radio. She said that it is a great feeling to know that her music is reaching people well beyond the walls of her Vancouver studio.

“Just this last week I’ve had people write to me from overseas in China,” she said.

Hagen is also the artistic director for Pro'ject Sound, an artistic performance project that involves piano and large-scale photography works.

“It’s basically a community collaboration project with local photographers … basically I connect with a community some months in advanced and give them a list of music and the tracks to listen to and each piece goes with a different colour. So then, they [photographers] go out and into the field take pictures of those colours while listening to that music and then they send me all the pictures and I put that into a PowerPoint,” Hagen said.

According to Hagen, the reception from audience goers has been extremely positive.

“I think most people wish they could see it twice,” she said. “It’s a lot of information coming your way at one time.”

For more information on Sarah Hagen visit

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