The final show of Creston Concert Society’s 2018-2019 season is here and it ends on an evening of virtuoso piano and saucy comedy with Sarah Hagen the “Perk Up, Pianist” on Saturday, April 13th at 7:30 p.m.
Canadian pianist Sarah Hagen has performed in concert halls and has been heard on broadcasts throughout North America and Europe. Awarded as Ontario Contact’s 2017 Artist of the Year and the British Columbia Touring Council’s 2015 Artist of the Year, the Charlottetown Guardian described her 2014 recital at UPEI as the Best Classical Performance of the year, saying, “…the level of passion that Hagen possesses – when it comes to experiencing, interpreting and expressing art – is something quite extraordinary. It does seem to be this deep level of artistic understanding, and ability to communicate on this level – either through words or through artistic expression – that truly sets her apart as a pianist and musical artist.” Additionally, her interpretations have been described as “outstandingly inventive” [University of Waterloo Gazette], ”played flawlessly” [ReviewVancouver] and “with great sensitivity and heart.” [Vernon Morning Star] A visionary and an idealist, Sarah presents conceptually innovative performances, involving photography, dance and spoken word.
Often referred to as the next Victor Borge, Sarah has transformed her award-winning role as “concert pianist” into a stand-up, or rather, sit-down comedy. Pairing anecdotes with music, “Perk Up, Pianist!” takes audiences deep inside the world of a classical musician as she shares her earnest efforts to keep her spirits up in the midst of troublesome times. The show toured through various Canadian fringe festivals to critical acclaim in the summer of 2016. Described as “one of the best hours I’ve ever spent at the Fringe” [The Coast (Halifax)], “Perk Up, Pianist!” tells the tale of a touring classical musician remaining optimistic in the midst of challenging and ridiculous situations. “Her comic timing is as solid as her musical meter.” The Edmonton Journal of the show’s debut at the Toronto Fringe Festival, Montreal Rampage wrote, “Hagen reminds us the beauty of how an honest solo performance can make you so easily fall in love with its performer.”
For her role as “classical pianist”, Sarah Hagen’s performance career has taken her from Goose Bay, Labrador to Gothenburg, Sweden, and on to Carnegie Hall as a First Prize Winner in the 2013 Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition.
Sarah has been heard nationally on CBC Radio 2’s In Concert in a live recording with violinist Joan Blackman and cellist Ariel Barnes. She was also featured in a live recording and discussion of Schumann’s Papillons on CBC Radio One’s North by Northwest with host Sheryl MacKay. In Helsingborg, Sweden in 2006 she recorded with Swedish cellist Marit Sjödin, creating Concealed Diamonds, an album of masterworks for cello and piano. In December 2013 she released her second album, Devoted: Music of Robert & Clara Schumann, featuring solo piano works and Clara Schumann’s Romances, Opus 22 with violinist Martin Chalifour, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
During her years on the west coast of Canada, Sarah founded nine concert series, curating each one individually, and inviting artists from across Canada and around the world to share the stage with her. She has toured throughout Sweden numerous times with cellist Marit Sjödin, violinist Ian Peaston, and Per Johansson, principal clarinet of the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra. Other international concerts of note include a recital at DePaul University with Oto Carrillo, hornist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a performance of Schumann’s Piano Quintet in Darmstadt, Germany with members of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, a performance at Carnegie Hall with Polish flautist Krzysztof Kaczka, and concerts as part of the Schlern International Music Festival in northern Italy.
Don’t miss Sarah Hagen: “Perk Up, Pianist” at Prince Charles Theatre: “As a storyteller, Hagen has an unusual stage presence: charming in a low-key kind of way, like a friend leaning across a bar table to whisper something important. Mike Anderson, Mooney on Theatre. Tickets available for $22 adult and $10 youth from Black Bear Books, Kingfisher Books and Fly in the Fibre, or $25 and $12 at the door. “Perk Up, Pianist” contains some mature content.