By Danielle Schroeder 
March 19, 2022 – Asheville, NC:

“The concerto was likely the audience favorite. It was exuberant, exciting, and unabashedly romantic. I’ve always interpreted the first movement as a kind of explosion of adolescent youth, one that takes delight in the tangents and cliches. Hagen executed every difficult passage with utter ease. The first movement ended with a standing ovation before the piece fully finished. The rest of the piece was no less sublime and practically exploded at the end. Hagen earned several standing ovations.”

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra led a program of Scandinavian and Slavic music inspired by folktales and mythology. The performance was sponsored by the Asheville Symphony Guild and guest artist sponsors Maurice and Bonnie Stone. The audience turnout was higher than I’d seen in past concerts, and there was a certain excitement for the pieces on the program. Familiar to the ASO, music director Darko Butorac conducted a program consisting of two tone poems by Jean Sibelius from his Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s famed violin concerto, and Igor Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird.