ISSN 2605-2318


Daron Hagen | Conviértete en Música. No te va a fallar. La música es amor.

Ruth Prieto, for ComposerSpeaks, interviews composer Daron Hagen 

Become Music. It will not fail you. Music is Love

1. Ruth Prieto: To start with, what do composers speak about?

Daron Hagen: In my experience, when composers speak to one another, amateur composers talk about inspiration; academic composers talk about ideas; professional composers talk about money. When we speak to non composers, amateurs talk about inspiration; academics talk about theory and musicology; and professionals deliver some harmless genteel gossip about the nature of the commission.

2. Ruth Prieto: Which characteristic defines you best?

Daron Hagen: Practical.

3. Ruth Prieto: To what extent is composing a trade?

Daron Hagen: It is a craft all the time until one transcends, through practice, craft. Then, it is an art all the time.

4. Ruth Prieto: What virtues does a composer have to have?

Daron Hagen: Resilience, drive, an eye for detail, the ability to work obsessively. Talent.

5. Ruth Prieto: And defects?

Daron Hagen: Resilience, drive, an eye for detail, the ability to work obsessively. Talent.

6. Ruth Prieto: What was most recent moment of pleasure that you got from music?

Daron Hagen: Observing as 107 children between the ages of 8 and 18 sang the
sitzprobe of my latest opera, “Little Nemo in Slumberland,” for Sarasota
Opera, in Florida, USA.

7. Ruth Prieto: And the most recent unpleasant surprise?

Daron Hagen: An unexpected need to explain shares in royalties to a recent collaborator.
8. Ruth Prieto: What is composition for you in this day and age?

Daron Hagen: The manipulation of sound. Simple as that.

9. Ruth Prieto: If you had not been a composer, what would you like to have been?

Daron Hagen: I seriously can´t imagine being anything but a composer at this point in my life. I professionally stage direct, play the piano, conduct, wrote prose, and give master classes, but they are all extensions of composing for me.

10. Ruth Prieto: What has your greatest extravagance been?

Daron Hagen: I drank too much during my 20s-40s. It wasted precious time and health.

11. Ruth Prieto: What does music contribute to education?

Daron Hagen: It is essential to the creation of a healthy mind.

12. Ruth Prieto: What are you afraid of?

Daron Hagen: None of your business!

13. Ruth Prieto: Anything you´ve lost along the way?

Daron Hagen: Nothing I haven´t been blessed enough to have regained. 

14. Ruth Prieto: What is silence?

Daron Hagen: I haven´t heard any silence since the age of twelve. I wouldn´t know.

15. Ruth Prieto: Liberté, egalité, fraternité ... Anything to add?

Daron Hagen: Pasta.

16. Ruth Prieto: Do you have a definition for musical happiness?

Daron Hagen: Become Music. It will not fail you. Music is Love.

17. Ruth Prieto: Who would you rescue from the past?

Daron Hagen: Wasted time.

18. Ruth Prieto: What´s interesting about the present?

Daron Hagen: My wife and children.

19. Ruth Prieto: What do you expect from the future?

Daron Hagen: I expect nothing. I feel entitled to nothing. I hope to live long enough to see my children grow up.

20. Ruth Prieto: Can you define «contemporary»?

Daron Hagen: All music is contemporary inasmuch as it is alive, if it moves the listener.
If it does not move the listener it is dead, and therefore not contemporary.

21. Ruth Prieto: What is your main obsession when working?

Daron Hagen: Freedom. 

22. Ruth Prieto: What are you working on now?

Daron Hagen: A two act opera called “A Woman in Morocco” to a libretto co-written with the playwright of the original play, Barbara Grecki. It is commissioned by a consortium of small companies around the USA and will feature the integration of digitally-manipulated pre-recorded sounds (ululations, etc.) into the orchestra. Also a third string quartet and another opera for six singers and boom box called “The Presence Absence Makes” on my own libretto, supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship.

23. Ruth Prieto: What would be your advice to a young composer?

Daron Hagen: Take the advice of any other composer with more than a grain of salt.
There are no tried and true paths. Everything changes. Make your own way. If there is any question in your mind about whether you are compelled, called to be a composer, then do something else.

24. Ruth Prieto: What makes you laugh?

Daron Hagen: My children´s voices.

25. Ruth Prieto: What makes you cry?

Daron Hagen: Misery.

26. Ruth Prieto: Which musician(s) or work(s) have made an impression on you as a composer?

Daron Hagen: Too many to single anyone out. Not necessarily the men with whom I studied.

27. Ruth Prieto: Have you got a composer of reference?

Daron Hagen: I don´t understand the question.

28. Ruth Prieto: Have you got any eccentricities when composing?

Daron Hagen: I have used the same staff paper since 1976 and am unable to compose if I don´t have at least a ream of it on hand. I have a “lucky” pencil. Ditto, if that is gone, I can´t work.

29. Ruth Prieto: A "must" film


30. Ruth Prieto: Recommend us a book


31. Ruth Prieto: A song that puts right an off day


32. Ruth Prieto: What do you think of politics?

Daron Hagen: I´d rather not answer.

33. Ruth Prieto: Have you got a recurring dream?

Daron Hagen: No.

34. Ruth Prieto: What inspires you as a composer and why?

Daron Hagen: Life inspires me. How could it not?

35. Ruth Prieto: What are your musical roots (real or imaginary)?

Daron Hagen: The voice. Because all music “sings,” whether we think so or not.

36. Ruth Prieto: What have you not yet been asked to do in music?

Daron Hagen: A major motion picture film score. 

37. Ruth Prieto: Which is your favourite hobby?

Daron Hagen: Woodworking.

38. Ruth Prieto: How is your morale these days?

Daron Hagen: Excellent.

39. Ruth Prieto: Have you got a motto?

Daron Hagen: 
                  "There are only two creatures of value on the face of the earth: 
                  those with the commitment, and those who require the commitment
                  of others." --John Adams (the President, NOT the composer)

40. Ruth Prieto: What would Daron Hagen say about Daron Hagen?

Daron Hagen: Daron, why are you speaking of yourself in the third person? 

                                                                  Daron Hagen, New York, November 2012


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Este trabajo tiene la licencia CC BY-NC-SA 4.0