Premiere of Variations on a Theme by Brahms


Variations on a Theme by Brahms, for solo piano, will be premiered September 19, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Minnesota in Morris, Minnesota, with more performances scheduled throughout the fall. Jocelyn selected the melody from the third movement of Symphony No. 3 by Brahms for this composition.

A note about the piece from Dr. Ann M. DuHamel:
This project began out of an abiding love for the music of Johannes Brahms and a strong affinity I have for playing contemporary music and working with contemporary composers. It also reflects my interest in the intersection of musical tradition and innovation. I wanted to combine all of these areas of interest, and my conception of the project evolved as I started to think about the idea of musical transformations. I approached composers with this theme of transformation in mind — would they be interested in composing something that is somehow related to Brahms, but transforming it so it captures their own distinctive, musical voice? It has been an absolute delight and thrill to see (and hear) the results! I approached Jocelyn Hagen to write for this project, for a number of reasons: I love the lyrical voice and piano writing present in her art songs; she chooses fascinating subjects for the themes of her compositions (e.g., Vincent Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci) that spark my intellectual and artistic curiosity; and she has a history of musical projects that revolve around Brahms. I’m deeply appreciative that Jocelyn Hagen is writing for me, and thank the University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid program for making the commission possible.
Learn more about Dr. DuHamel here:

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reviews & quotes

More than just singable lyric lines…

Jocelyn’s music ties so beautifully with the text, which for singers, makes her music a reward and a clear way to connect emotionally to the message. Her pieces are more than just singable lyric lines; they invoke a desire to connect to the audience and be a part of a bigger experience for everyone.

David Walton, tenor

Jocelyn’s Music Sings

Jocelyn’s music sings. It is crafty and crafted but never difficult; lyrical and poignant yet never saccharin. Her musical lines flow as poetry in sound, as she guides the listener from one delight to the next.

Domonic DiOrio
Associate Professor of Music, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music | Director, NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

New Impressions of Texture and Color

Jocelyn’s music is filled with new impressions of texture and color. Individual lines melding together to create deep or expansive melodies. Our ensemble loved not only the rehearsal process, but found repeated performances to deepen our experience and expression of the music. I have had the great pleasure of working with Jocelyn on two different… Read more “New Impressions of Texture and Color”

Peter Haberman, Director of Bands
Concordia College, Moorhead

Jocelyn Hagen’s music celebrates the eternal spirit of the feminine

Jocelyn Hagen’s music celebrates the eternal spirit of the feminine, informed by soaring poetry and the indomitable courage of women. Her sense of place, time and the elements weave together a fabric of sound that inspires awe, joy, and the resilience so needed in today’s world.

Iris S. Levine, Founder and Artistic Director

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