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Sean Hagerty

New York, NY   

Sean Hagerty is a composer, violinist, and sound designer specializing in live electronics and music for theater and dance.  He started playing the violin at the age of 11 and wrote his first string orchestra piece at the age of 15.

He holds a bachelor’s in music composition (cum laude) from Bowling Green State University, having written works for percussion quartet, wind duet, brass quartet, mixed brass and saxophone, alto sax, electric violin, string quartet, and symphony orchestra, as well as electronic works and music for jazz ensembles.

In New York City, his interest in music technology lead him to Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center. At Harvestworks, he studied Interactive Technology for Dancers, Surround Sound, and Hardware Hacking, studied with Jody Elff, and was awarded a scholarship in 2007.  He subsequently became involved at 3LD Art and Technology Center, becoming the sound designer for Kevin Cunningham’s Losing Something. These experiences set the ground work for Sean’s interest in multi-channel sound design.

Since then, he has served as sound designer and / or composer for a number of productions including: Milk N Honey (3LD), The Windup Bird Chronicle (3LD), The Collector (59E59), The Fall to Earth (59E59), Foreign Bodies, Faith (Living Theater, Wild Project, Culture Project), Inner Voices (Urban Stages), Temptation (La Mama E.T.C), Kid Shamrock (Atlantic Theater),  and the the 2015-2016 repertory seasons of The Actors Studio Drama School.

Regional theater credits include music and sound for Hound of the Baskervilles (Penguin Rep, Cape Playhouse, Weston Playhouse, Hangar Theatre), Mrs. Mannerly (MRT), God of Carnage, Red (Hangar Theatre), A Christmas Carol, The Pavilion, and 12th Night (Milesquare Theater)

Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include sound design, violin, and composition for the 2013 production of Around the World in 80 Days (Davenport Theater), sound design for The Anthem (Lynn Redgrave Theater) in 2014, and the ensemble arrangements for A Rhapsody in Blood, performed by the Broadway cast of Sweeney Todd at the 2006 Easter Bonnet Competition.

Further bringing together technology and performance, Sean has explored live processing and electronics with a number of performers: Dave Soldier (piano – Le Poisson Rouge), Andrew Nemr (tap – Issue Project Room, Webster Hall), Rebecca Cherry (violin with piano – Hudson Opera, Players Club), Siddharth Mehta (tabla – VBrooklyn Festival), and Winsome Brown in her 2016 production of Hit the Body Alarm, featuring the music of John Zorn (voice – The Performing Garage).

Sean has created immersive sound designs and music for Third Rail Projects over the last 5 years. The Steampunk Haunted House sprawled through the floors and rooms of the Abrons Arts Center. Next was Then She Fell (Kingsland Ward) which won the 2013 Bessie Award for Best Production in a Small Venue. Roadside Attraction (World Financial Center and tour), which received a 2013 grant for live music and dance from New Music USA. Roadside Attraction featured Sean looping violin, mandolin, and banjo alongside longtime collaborator Isaiah Singer on wurlitzer piano, 12 string guitar, and harmonica with dancer / singer Elizabeth Carena. Other projects followed, including House 17 (Governor’s Island), the overnight NYC scavenger hunt of Midnight Madness, the tropical 70’s pleasure palace of The Grand Paradise, and the nostalgic memory play Sweet and Lucky (Denver Center for the Performing Arts).

In 2014, with director / choreographer Jody Oberfelder, Sean created an immersive sound design for 4 Chambers, weaving interstitial ambience through the space along with an interactive installation that translated audience members’ pulses into a live sonic score. In 2016, Hagerty created original music and design for The Brain Piece performed at Dixon Place, Dance Place (Washing DC) and venues in Frankfurt, Germany and Prague which also received an New Music USA grant.

Other original music for dance includes an electric string trio suite for Rachel Klein’s Symphony of Shadows (Dixon Place), and violin music for Norte Maar’s Ballet Y Bushwick (Bushwick Starr), and Brian Carey Chung’s Sunrise in the Quantum Realm, and Four Arrangements on the Theme of Loss  (Baryshnikov Arts Center).

All music samples written and mixed by Sean Hagerty.

Around the World in 80 Days – Opening

As the lights fade away, the train whistle anthem fills the theater with sound with on-stage smoke stacks billow fog into the air. Rhythmic clock ticks combine with Indian tabla (Siddharth Mehta). Cinematic trumpet fanfares (Alicia Rau) rise along with accents of Chinese pipa (Zhou Yi) and a flourish of American harmonica (Will Hanza). Finally, Phileas Fogg emerges in a pool of light, intently looking upon his watch as a cacophony of clocks surround him.
The opening foreshadows the multitude of places Fogg will travel throughout the show.

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Then She Fell – Opening

Alice and Lewis Carroll perform a loving duet on a staircase. The Red Queen loses her mind in a hospital room. The Hatter playfully invites a hat fitting. Te music sets the tone of all of these scenes simultaneously, haunting yet tender, evocative of a nostalgic love. The layers of the music are individually mixed across over 20 environments, so as audience members move through the labyrinthine old school, their experience of the music changes. With Isaiah Singer -bass, harmonica, Brian Olin – guitar, Elizabeth Carena – vocals, Sean H – violin

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4 Chambers – Opening

As the audience enters the first of multiple spaces in Jody Oberfelder’s “4 Chambers”, the sound design transitions from the outside world to the inside world. Environmental sounds from the surrounding area transform into internal landscapes, punctuated by heartbeats and the sound of flowing blood. Voiceovers from Kathryn Merry and Chris Ware read excerpts from “The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart” and “Heart and Mind. Hagerty’s violin arrangements underscore, foreshadowing the music of Jonathan Melville Pratt and Matt McBane.

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