Surrey Arts Centre & Sarah Hagen
Classical Coffee Concerts

Date and Venue 20 Nov 2014, 10:30 am | Surrey Arts Centre

Featured performer Tawnya Popoff, viola

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Musicians Sarah Hagen and Tawnya Popoff gave us a delightful morning of classical music from composers Massenet, Beethoven, Schubert, Puccini and Prokofiev. Although I felt it was a bit long (75 minutes with no intermission) their skills and creativity recompensed for this minor inconvenience.

What was a surprise was the appearance of legendary basoonist George Zukerman who was there to turn the pages of Hagen's scores as she was playing. After the show, Zukerman joined us for an interview where he did a few piano and viola jokes. During the interview, Hagen talked about touring with Popoff as they do another duo in February. Both are busy with other ensembles. Popoff who was living in New York teaching and performing decided to move back to Vancouver and stick with playing lead viola with the Vancouver Opera. Opera is her thing, she said, and fell in love with that from a young age. Her rendition of Massenet's "Meditation" from the opera Thais was magnificent.

Hagen, on the other hand, organized the Classical Coffee Concerts at the Surrey Arts Centre and hosts as well as performs with guest artists. There are six concerts for this series in Surrey, the last one was with guest performer Krzysztof Kaczka, a flutist, and the one coming up on December 4th is Anne Grimm, a soprano.

She plays the piano with ease and listening to her latest CD Devoted: Music of Robert & Clara Schumann, I could feel the tonal purity as she played.

The nice perk about these concerts (and that's why it's called Coffee Concerts) is if you come early, you can drink all the coffee you want and eat healthy pastries, some of them gluten free. So make sure to come for the next one on December 4th which I'm looking forward to.

. © 2014 Ed Farolan