Sandra Lied Haga cellist

Sandra Lied Haga, cellist

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career? 

Having three older siblings who all played violin were my first inspiration to music. Our childhood was filled with music, both at home and in school, and with many years of performances through our childhood, together with our mother playing piano. Music was everywhere, and it became the essence of my life from the very beginning. 

My lifelong cello hero, Truls Mørk, who happens to be Norwegian  became my teacher at an early age to my great advantage. Growing up surrounded by his unbelievably beautiful sound gave me my musical soul. 

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far? 

The transition from being a young talent/child who was directed by others and helped develop and told what to do by others, to being a professional cellist and having to stand on my own two feet. It can be a very lonely journey. 

Of which performances/recordings are you most proud? 

I believe it must be my debut album of the Dvorak Cello Concerto and the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations (original version), recorded in 2019 in the legendary Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory. 

Which particular works/composers do you think you perform best? 

Composers and pieces from the Romantic era. Sound has always been my main focus, and the Romantic repertoire allows me to fully embrace it.  

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage? 

I feel very fortunate having grown up being surrounded by breathtaking nature in Norway. I spend all the time I possibly can outdoors, whether it is skiing (cross country and randonee), swimming in the sea or lakes, climbing mountains or walking in the woods. The over earthly feeling I usually only receive from music also reaches me when I am in harmony out in beautiful nature, and when jumping into some pure natural water 

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season? 

Up until now it has been determined by the concerts and festivals to which I have been invited, together with learning all the basic repertoire, entering competitions and other auditions, and the recordings Simax and I have been planning.  

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why? 

Troldsalen, the concert hall next to Edvard Grieg’s home in Bergen, Norway. It was designed by my Grandfather, whose ideal and vision it was to blend his buildings into nature. This beautiful concert hall in a way springs out of the mountain.  

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music’s audiences? 

Present the most beautiful music there is to as many people as possible, and to let the music speak for itself and be enough. The classical music industry needs to be more healthy, working together to present the beauty of music, not fight each other. Awareness of this divine art form in society is necessary; in my experience, most people who are not familiar with classical music do not know what they are missing. For the most part they love it if they are exposed to it. 

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

There are so many, but if I can mention two; performing with Leif Ove Andsnes for the first time 9 years ago, was magicalAlso when I was 24, recording the Dvorak Cello Concerto and the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations in Tchaikovsky’s own version and hall, the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory. That is something I will never forget. I want to treasure this experience inside, despite the terrible war. The passion, music, history and soul in Russian music making and the Russian School is something unique. This experience was an absolute dream that will be with me for the rest of my life. I am especially grateful to have had this time in Moscow, especially now that the horrendous war is going on. 

As a musician, what is your definition of success? 

If people are touched by the music and drawn into the music with me and especially if the experience stays with them for the rest of the day.  

What advice would you give to young/aspiring musicians? 

Follow your dreams, but also be realistic. Try to find something additional in life that means as much to you as music does 

What’s the one thing in the music industry we’re not talking about which you think we should be? 

Jealousy, lack of generosity, fake news, hidden Me Too. It is catastrophic that we cannot just stick together to bring the beauty of music to people on the outside of our musical life and do what we can (and are responsible to do) to «rescue» the most wonderful art form ever known to humankind. Instead there is much internal fighting one another and toxicity, which essentially ruins what we all love.

What’s next? Where would you like to be in 10 years? 

In 10 years I hope to feel free, to be surrounded by music, having seen much of the world with more to come, and to do it all with true love, family and friendship by my side.

What is your present state of mind? 

Excited, thoughtful and ecstatic for my upcoming concerts and career highlights to come! 

Sandra Lied Haga appears with with Maxim Vengerov in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 25th April. Her new album on Simax Classics is released 28th April.

Norwegian cellist Sandra Lied Haga stands on the threshold of a major career, having won four international competitions, a number of European Prizes and the prestigious Equinor Classical Music Award, previously given to Leif Ove Andsnes and Truls Mørk. Her rich, beautiful sound and prodigious talent have caught attention worldwide, and already made her a sought after soloist, who captivates her listeners with what is described as a uniquely beautiful cello tone.

Since her Wigmore Hall debut at the age of 12, Sandra’s passionate playing and the deep feelings she expresses has resonated with audiences and musicians all over the world, in prestigious concert venues such as the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, St. Petersburg Philharmonia, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Athenaeum Bucuresti, Salzburger Festspielhaus, Tivoli Vredenburg, Verbier Festival and many more.

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