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Celebrated composer and director joins Chicago College of Performing Arts

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Daron Hagen - composer, librettist, director and conductor
ā€œIā€™m committed to guest lecturing on the intersection between public policy and musical theatre, giving composition lessons, acting master classes, coaching productions, performing music and of course, directing Orson.ā€ Daron Hagen

Daron Hagen, an internationally known composer, librettist, director and conductor of nine major operas, has joined the artist faculty at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA).

Known for his work on “Shining Brow” (Madison Opera) and “Amelia” (Seattle Opera) Hagen is the founding artistic director of the New Mercury Collective, a laboratory for artistic exploration where creation and performance of post-genre works combining theater, music and emerging technologies are encouraged.

Dedicated to social justice and civic activism, Hagen will bring his latest project, “Orson Rehearsed,” a multi-faceted collaborative work examining in non-linear narrative the Orson Welles story, to Roosevelt where he plans to engage students, faculty and guest artists in its development and staging at CCPA in September 2018.

“We are absolutely thrilled that one of America’s truly important composers has joined CCPA. Daron Hagen’s work is internationally known and admired,” said Henry Fogel, dean of CCPA. “That he will be teaching both composition and professional development makes this a very significant appointment for us.”

A native of Milwaukee and a New York resident, Hagen was recognized in 2014 by the American Academy of Arts and Letters with its Academy Award.

“I am grateful to Roosevelt and CCPA for the opportunity to share the practical lessons I’ve picked up in the course of balancing my life as an artist and a father, with my responsibilities as a citizen and director,” said Hagen. “I’m committed to guest lecturing on the intersection between public policy and musical theatre, giving composition lessons, acting master classes, coaching productions, performing music and of course, directing Orson.”

A lifetime member of the Corporation of Yaddo who has been described as “representing the best of what Yaddo is all about,” Hagen studied with Ned Rorem at the Curtis Institute of Music and David Diamond at the Juilliard School, and has worked privately with Lukas Foss and Leonard Bernstein. Formerly an arranger and copyist on Broadway, he made his debut as a composer with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1982, as a piano soloist with the Denver Chamber Orchestra in 1987, as a conductor with the Madison Symphony in 1998, and as a stage director with the Kentucky Opera in 2010.

As a CCPA artist faculty member, Hagen is expected to bring in many guest artists to work with Roosevelt students, including the Fifth House Ensemble as well as members of his New Mercury Collective.

“CCPA is a wonderful home for Daron because of our shared educational and artistic goals,” said Linda Berna, associate dean and director of CCPA’s Music Conservatory. “He offers our students mentorship, learning and performance experiences that are unique and cutting-edge, and we expect his contributions to be transformative.”

About Roosevelt University

Roosevelt University, a private institution founded in 1945 on the principles of inclusion and social justice, has more than 4,500 students in five colleges. With campuses in the Chicago Loop and northwest suburban Schaumburg, Roosevelt offers 70 undergraduate and 40 graduate programs across five colleges and online, including arts and sciences, business, performing arts, education and pharmacy. Roosevelt has been ranked the fourth most racially diverse private university in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report – Best Colleges Rankings. For more information, visit

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