Musicianship Program Director
Matthew Hagle has been a member of the Music Institute’s piano faculty since November 1997 and is the current director of the Musicianship Program. He has a bachelor of music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and master of music, master of musical arts, and doctor of musical arts degrees from Yale School of Music. He studied in London on a Fulbright Scholarship. He is a member of Music Teachers National Association, for which he has served as a competition judge on the state and national levels, and the American Liszt Society. He is a frequent recital partner with violinist Rachel Barton Pine, with whom he has made three recordings on Cedille Records. He has performed in concert venues across North and South America and frequently on Chicago’s classical music station WFMT. He also frequently performs as a piano duo with his wife, Mio Isoda-Hagle.
Doctor of Musical Arts, Yale School of Music
Master of Musical Arts, Yale School of Music
Master of Music, Yale School of Music
Bachelor of Music, Peabody Conservatory of Music
Fulbright Scholarship in London
Three recordings with violinist Rachel Barton Pine, Cedille Records
I like to teach students of many different ages and abilities—anyone who really wants to learn is interesting to me! I very much like to take things
apart—working on the nuts and bolts of technical problems or figuring out what makes a piece or performance sound the way it does. Even after all these years, there is still something special and wonderful about musical communication, a bit of magic I would like to give to students. And my teachers have helped me so much and given so much to me—I would like to do the same.
Member, national and state competition judge, Music Teachers National Association:
Member, American Liszt Society
Frequent judge for Chicago-area competitions
Frequent performances, solo and with other musicians, WFMT
Concert appearances throughout North and South America
Interest/hobbies outside of music:
Sports, languages, and reading. I was especially interested in basketball, growing up in Chicago in the Jordan era, and I actually played on an IM basketball team in college with some other pianists (really not a great idea), but I can only watch now. I do like to drop sports analogies on my students occasionally.
I like to try and learn languages, but, unfortunately, I am not very good at it. I have been trying Japanese for years (hard) and don’t make much headway with it. I will read almost anything; it’s been a weapon against boredom since I was very young.
I deeply admire people who can use language well, especially great descriptive writers and also writers who can explain a complex subject clearly and gracefully.
What you love about playing your instrument:
I love playing the piano! The piano to me is the ultimate multitasking tool—when I play the piano I feel like one of those people who can play many chess games at the same time (which I certainly cannot!). Playing music for an audience is also a special act because the music cannot exist until we, the performers, create it. The dots that you see on the page are like a kind of potential energy, and the performers, to me, are very like actors of a special kind, who take someone else’s story and make it come alive.
What music means to you:
Music to me is a special mode of communication, almost another way of thinking. I think that teaching theory and composition, as well as piano, also helps me see how many different ways music can engage us. On one level, the intricacies of different musical languages are fascinating. In another way, music has an ability, through unattached sounds, to hit us at a visceral or physical level. I definitely feel that great music is saying something to me that could not be said in any other way, and I feel that it says it to other people as well,