January 25, 2013 · 8:57 AM

LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC concertmaster Martin Chalifour joins Comox Valley pianist Sarah Hagen for a Mattina Musica concert Feb. 4. / Photo submitted

Mattina Musica returns to the Comox Valley on Feb. 4 with violinist Martin Chalifour, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Co-presented by the Sid Williams Theatre Society and pianist Sarah Hagen,  Mattina Musica is series of classical music concerts taking place on select Monday mornings. Each event begins with a pre-concert reception in the Sid lobby.

Two years ago Chalifour and Hagen first met at the SOAP Festival in Powell River. Over numerous espressos one afternoon, they discussed how much they loved Mendelssohn’s violin sonatas and how they felt his works were neglected on recital programmes.

Last winter, Chalifour called Hagen for some West Coast travel tips, and on a whim she asked Chalifour if he would like to play a few concerts with her. Chalifour agreed immediately, and they began making plans for a February tour.

For this concert the pair will perform Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, contrasted by the haunting Sonata in E minor by Mozart. They will finish with Mendelssohn’s Sonata in F major (1838), the piece which began their collaboration plans in the first place.

Chalifour began his tenure as principal concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1995.

The recipient of various grants and awards in his native Canada, he graduated with honors from the Montreal Conservatory at the age of 18 and then moved to Philadelphia to pursue studies at the Curtis Institute of Music.

He has concertized extensively, playing hundreds of concerto performances from a repertoire of more than 50 works. He has appeared as soloist with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Sir Neville Marriner, and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Outside the U.S., he has appeared as a guest soloist with the Auckland Philharmonia, the Montreal Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of Taiwan, and the Malaysian Philharmonic, among others.

Maintaining close ties with his native country, he has returned here often to teach and perform as soloist with various Canadian orchestras, most recently with the Vancouver Symphony in the 2010/11 season.

From the Comox Valley, Hagen has been heard in concert halls and on the airwaves to critical acclaim throughout North America and Europe. As well as hosting four recital series in BC, Hagen enjoys a busy and varied concert schedule as both a soloist and collaborator.

Highlights of her 2012/2013 season include a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City, a solo recital at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, and a Home Routes concert tour in Manitoba and Saskatchewan with cellist Rebecca Wenham.

Coming Mattina Musica concerts include performances with tenor Ken Lavigne, and violist Vaida Rozinskaite.

Coffee and tea is served at 9:45 a.m. and music begins at 10:30.

For more information on the Mattina Musica series and other  performances, visit or call 250-338-2430.

—Sarah Hagen