"Exultation" with Spoken Word Artist Brendan McLeod
“Exultation” is an intoxicating music and storytelling collaboration from classical pianist Sarah Hagen and spoken word artist Brendan McLeod. Hagen, the 2017 Ontario Contact 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 explores Rachmaninoff's struggles and triumphs, as well as the estrangements, losses, and redemptions at the heart of contemporary life. Centered by Hagen’s intricate, passionate rendition of Rachmaninoff’s compositions, “Exultation” is a stirring exploration of how to make the world worthy of its music.
“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