Arden Theater hosts a classical music concert with a twist

There’s no one like Sarah Hagen, a classical concert musician. She not only plays the music of history’s greatest composers such as Rachmaninoff and Chopin with keyboard virtuosity and emotional sensitivity.

In her one-woman show, Get up, pianist, the Toronto-based musician injects witty phrases and a few well-placed moans while channeling beautiful music. Revealing another side of the stereotypical and important classical musician, she delights in storytelling and light-hearted teasing.

For example, when a cell phone rings during a live performance, a performer ignores it or flashes back. As a pianist-comedian, Hagen does neither. She picks up a strategically placed banana on her piano and pretends to talk to the caller.

“Audiences don’t always see the humor, but I think it’s funny,” laughs Hagen who performs Get up, pianist at the Arden Theater on Saturday, March 4 as part of a nine-show tour of Alberta.

Yes, the smartly dressed musician likes to throw in a few laughs in her theatrical gig. But she’s also a serious pianist with four albums at hand. In fact, the last album, Bach’s Goldberg Variations was just nominated on February 15 as Classical Recording of the Year for the 2022 East Coast Music Awards.

For more than a decade, the laid-back musician has performed in concert halls around the world, including twice at Carnegie Hall in New York. But in 2016, the overwhelming exhaustion and exhaustion of burnout took its toll.

“Touring is hard on the body. You get there and get ready for the next day. I didn’t know how to set boundaries and boundaries,” Hagen said.

She quit acting and spent time teaching and developing personal projects. One of them was Get up, pianist.

“I wrote the show about burnout. It was a way to reach people, and a lot of people can relate. If you can laugh at a difficult situation, you can heal,” he said. she declared.

“[The show] gives people a glimpse of a touring classical pianist and my relationship to life. One thing I found out was that it was hard to date someone when filming. But I’m only talking about bad dates,” she laughs.

Working with an incomplete draft, the new playwright opened for the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival. A year later, she delivered a more polished version at the Edmonton Fringe Festival where people happily booed her bad puns.

“All the shows were sold out except one at midnight. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from a friend was, ‘Don’t worry about being perfect. The audience will be honest with you. I felt free and I didn’t care about the reviews.

Get up, pianist changed direction and got drier since his Toronto debut. She even slips in some sexy innuendos.

“There is so much humor behind classical music. And it is a link with classical music.

The Arden Theater is located at 5, rue Sainte-Anne. Tickets are $28 plus fees online at

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