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Young violin prodigy to play concert with Utah Symphony

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Mar. 26, 2010 at 6:39 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utahn Will Hagen is a busy 17-year-old high school student, an athlete and a young person dealing with diabetes. But he is also a musical prodigy. Will is performing in a masterworks concert with the Utah Symphony Friday and Saturday night at Abravanel Hall.

Who is … Will Hagen?
  • A native of Utah
  • Began violin lessons at age 4
  • In 2008, he was awarded a grant from the Ahmanson Foundation for promising young artists.
  • The second of three sons, Will is a junior at East High School in Salt Lake City.

Will is what the music world considers a prodigy. He has been performing with symphony orchestras since he was 9 years old.

His dream began at the incredible age of 4 when he listened to virtuoso Itzak Pearlman.

Will said, "I heard this recording and I was, like, ‘Well, that's pretty awesome...' I mean it really, really hit me, and from then on, I was, well, I'm just gonna do this. I'm gonna be the best at this."

Will flies to Los Angeles every week to study with one of the country's top teachers, Robert Lipsett, who arranged for him to play on a violin made in Italy in 1665.

"It's pretty nerve-wracking just carrying it around," Will said. "But I mean, the sound on it is so great and it's such a luxury to be able to play on something like that at my age."

Despite Will's obvious musical talents, there's a lot more to know about him.

He swings a mean baseball bat. In his East High School game against Highland High, Will slid home for the win. He's not on the varsity team this year but still loves the sport.

Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor
with the Utah Symphony
• Christopher Seaman, Conductor
• Abravanel Hall
• March 26 & 27 at 8 p.m.
Utah Symphony

"It's always nice to have a release from the music," he said. "I was playing baseball really competitively throughout, since I was about 7."

Will does all of this as a busy high school student who deals with diabetes -- a tedious disease, he says, but manageable.

What really matters is the music.

"I don't care what crowd I'm playing for, I'm going to give it my very, very best and I'm going to hope that everybody leaves the concert hall more satisfied," Will said.

To Will, this is magical. He hopes he can turn the passion he feels now into a lifetime of performances.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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Carole Mikita

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