Sarah Hagen / Brendan McLeod

Exultation

Exultation is an intoxicating music and storytelling collaboration from classical pianist Sarah Hagen and spoken word artist Brendan McLeod. Hagen, the 2015 BC Touring Council Artist of the Year, performs all thirteen preludes of Rachmaninoff’s Opus 32, interspersed with stories and poems from Brendan McLeod, the former Canadian SLAM champion. The result is a narrative journey that focuses on Rachmaninoff’s life – his exile from Russia, his battle with depression, his tireless work ethic and dedication to beauty – in order to examine the estrangements, losses, and redemptions at the heart of contemporary political and social life. “The intensity, dramatic flair, and passion of Hagen’s performance brought people to their feet. Brendan McLeod’s compositions touched on the personal, political and philosophical in a torrent of words, creating tsunami-like waves that built to a crescendo every bit as powerful as Rachmaninoff’s. This show exceeded our wildest expectations and we would encourage other presenters to consider this new work and these accomplished, multi-talented artists for the future.” – Lynnda McDougall, executive director of the Bulkley Valley Music Association