After six seasons of Mattina Musica

Farewell to Sarah Hagen


Mark Allan

Special to The Record


Sarah Hagen is scaling back. And branching out.

The popular and acclaimed classical pianist from the Comox Valley is stepping back from a demanding tour schedule.

Six seasons of Mattina Musica (Morning Music) concerts will end April 18 at the Sid Williams Theatre as the finale of the 2015 – 2016 Blue Circle Series.

“I actually decided to take next season almost entirely off from performing,” the BC Touring Council’s 2015 Touring Artist of the Year says in an interview.

“I’m playing a handful of concerts up north including Burns Lake and Whitehorse, one concert in Nanaimo,” continues Hagen, sounding like she almost doesn’t believe what she’s saying.

“I tour incessantly. If you look at my website, it’s crazy. I love touring, but if you’re always on the road, you don’t have much time to methodically and calmly create.

“I just felt like I needed time to do that.”

Hagen, daughter of the late Comox Valley MLA Stan Hagen and local historian Judy Hagen, has accomplished much as a musician.

As a first-prize winner in the 2013 Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, she earned the right to perform solo at New York City’s storied Carnegie Hall in May 2013.

Her live performances received rave reviews and her debut solo album, Glass House Dancing, was nominated for Classical Recording of the Year at the 2009 Western Canadian Music Awards. She released her second album, Devoted: Music of Robert & Clara Schumann, in December 2013.

As curator and host, she has performed in many concert series in B.C. and Alberta, including Mattina Musica, sharing stages with artists from around the world, and filling a void.

“I saw the need for concerts in the Comox Valley that were in the daytime.”

Of all her Mattina Musica memories, Hagen’s performance with the Bergmann Duo (husband-and-wife pianists Marcel and Elizabeth Bergmann) stands out.

“It built up all the way from a one-hand piece all the way up to six hands. That’s my favourite program of all time, just the fun of it.

“I think we were also surprised when we put the program together how serious it ended up being … you think it’s going to be a total circus, but the music was so beautiful.”

During his Mattina Musica performance a couple of seasons ago, Butterfield reminisced about performing at a Miss Comox Valley pageant in the early 1980s.

“It was so funny to hear him tell this story,” Hagen recalled. “He remembered the old wallpaper at the Sid Williams Theatre.”

Those familiar with Hagen’s irrepressible sense of humour (such as donning a bee costume for a Flight of the Bumblebee encore) might not be totally surprised to hear of a potential new career path.

“I just found out I won a spot in the lottery for the Toronto Fringe Festival, which is very cool. There’s no audition for that; it’s just luck of the draw. I knew I was first on the waitlist but I had kind of forgotten about it.”

Someone dropped out, and suddenly Hagen was in.

“That will be a 45-minute, one-woman show. There will be piano in it.

“I can see that I want to go more into theatre. I had made this decision to take some time out and then I got this call from Toronto Fringe, and I feel like it’s a sign.”

Hagen debuted doing standup comedy March 16 in Duncan during the annual I Am Woman, Hear Me Laff fundraiser for the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society.


Just Posted

Comox Valley Record putting the call out to Snowbirds shutterbugs

David Suther sent in this great pic of the Snowbirds, shot from… Continue reading

Too Good To Be Threw back in downtown Courtenay with second location

The new store opened Tuesday at 456 5th Street

World Community screens This Mountain Life in Courtenay

The awe that mountainous landscapes evoke is universal. World Community presents the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Comox Valley Stage 4 water restrictions lifted

Video explains planning and execution of repair

Comox Valley youth rank high in Skills Canada BC competition

Comox Valley students brought home some new hardware last week after achieving… Continue reading

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

CONTEST ALERT: Win tickets to A Night of Bowie

Do you want to see “A Night of Bowie” on us? The… Continue reading

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Most Read