CELLIST ARIEL BARNES joins Comox Valley-raised classical pianist Sarah Hagen on Sept. 23 for the launch of another Mattina Musica series at the Sid Williams Theatre.

Mattina Musica returns to Valley

Italian for Morning Music, Mattina Musica is a five-concert series of classical music taking place on select Monday mornings

Mattina Musica returns to the Comox Valley for an exciting fourth season, beginning Monday, Sept. 23.

Italian for Morning Music, Mattina Musica is a five-concert series of classical music taking place on select Monday mornings. Each event begins with a pre-concert reception in the Sid lobby.

Co-presented by the Sid Williams Theatre Society and pianist Sarah Hagen, the series includes performances by cellist Ariel Barnes, violinist Joan Blackman, tenor Benjamin Butterfield, hornist Oto Carrillo and a solo recital by Hagen.

A favourite with the Mattina Musica crowd, Barnes returns to the Comox Valley for a duo recital with Hagen. As well as works by Beethoven and Schumann, their program features the Shostakovich Cello Sonata, a masterpiece of the 20th Century.

Written in 1934, just before Shostakovich suffered extreme censure under Soviet rule, the sonata is a massive work for both the performers and the listeners, with long and expressive lines, rich colours and moods ranging from extremely dark and sardonic to brilliant and soulful.

Described as creating a “mesmerizing musical experience” by combining his “deep personal connection” (Toronto Live Music Report), “luscious tone and technical prowess” (The Vancouver Sun), Barnes has been engaging audiences with his imaginative interpretations and commanding stage presence.

He has been hailed as a “rising star” by the Georgia Straight, “a surprising standout” by the KW Gazette, “new wave” by L’Acadie Nouvelle and “a musician of real stature” by the Vancouver Sun.

His solo and chamber music performances have been broadcast by CBC Radio Canada on such programs as In Performance, The Signal, Tempo, West Coast Performance, Choral Concert and On Stage, and he was recently selected as one of six cellists across the nation to celebrate the launch of cbcmusic.ca as a featured artist in the Canadian Bach Cello Suite Project.

Barnes’ performances in recent years include the concertos of Dvorak, Saint-Saens, Brahms (Double), Ernst Bloch’s Schelomo, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, and recital appearances in New York, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Quebec City, Vancouver, San Francisco and Guadalajara Mexico.

As a winner of the 2012 Canada Council Instrument Bank Competition, he has been awarded the use of the 1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus cello, built in Turin, Italy, for the next three years.  In January 2013, Barnes was appointed principal cello of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

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 eight recital series in B.C., Hagen enjoys a busy and varied concert schedule as both a soloist and collaborator. As First Prize Winner in the 2013 Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, she was awarded the opportunity to perform solo at New York City’s Carnegie Hall in May 2013.

Highlights of Hagen’s coming season include a solo recital in Prince Edward Island, Brahms’ Horn Trio in Chicago with Oto Carrillo and Rachel Barton Pine, and a Pro’ject Sound performance in St. John featuring New Brunswick photographers.

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 coming performances, visit www.sidwilliamstheatre.com or call 250 -338-2430.

— Sarah Hagen

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