Copenhagen-based pianist Sandra Mogensen is equally at home in two worlds: performing as a solo pianist and co-performing with singers in recital. She has played in concert in both capacities in Canada, the United States, Denmark, Latvia, Iceland, Norway, and Austria.
Sandra focuses on creating performances and curating programs that engage the audience through innovative programming ideas, a range of varied repertoire and deeply felt expressiveness, sensitivity and passion. Her recital programs and recordings carry the listener on a journey through contrasting musical styles and/or characters, while maintaining a satisfying unity and flow throughout.
Ms. Mogensen has a great passion for things poetic. Exposure to the German Romantic poets at an early age led to her deep love of art song. She finds working on musical settings of poetic texts and experiencing an entire world in a three-minute song, to be some of the most rewarding parts of being a musician. Sandra’s interest in and affinity for learning other languages also finds expression in her work with this genre of music. Sandra’s love of poetry also influences her approach to the piano, always searching for the expression of imagery, colour, and drama.
Sandra’s first CD recording was of Schubert’s cycle of 24 songs, Winterreise, with Germany-based Canadian bass Paul Sketris. The two artists have been friends since childhood, when their first musical collaborations included playing piano duets, singing the Latvian folk songs of their common heritage, and playing in the same high school jazz band. The Winterreise recording was produced by Anton Kwiatkowski and was recorded at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.
Sandra returned to the Glenn Gould Studio to record her first solo album in December 2006 for a 2007 release in conjunction with the Edvard Grieg centenary. SANDRA MOGENSEN: Piano Music of Edvard Grieg, produced by Earl McCluskie, was warmly received and praised. A second disc of Grieg’s piano music (SANDRA MOGENSEN: Piano Music of Edvard Grieg Volume 2) followed in 2009, again produced by Earl McCluskie. With the most recent 2012 release of SANDRA MOGENSEN: Piano Music of Edvard Grieg Volume 3 on the Chestnut Hall Music label, Sandra has completed a trilogy of uniquely programmed discs honouring the great Norwegian composer, and has plans to add a double album of Volume 4 & 5.
Sandra’s fascination with Grieg began early in life and has its roots in Sandra’s northern European heritage. With a Danish father and Latvian mother, her affinity for the Scandinavian and Baltic cultures was kindled at a young age. Sandra’s love for Grieg’s music has taken her to Grieg conferences in Florida, Copenhagen, and in 2015, Bergen, Norway where she will give a presentation on Grieg's setting of an Ibsen poem. In 2014, Sandra received grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Norwegian Embassy in Canada/Association for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies in Canada for a study trip on Grieg songs for voice and piano, in Norway. A memorable performance experience took place in 2010 when Sandra performed at the “Troldsalen” recital hall at Troldhaugen, Grieg’s villa in Bergen, Norway. 2015 sees a return to Troldhaugen for a Grieg Song Workshop at the end of May. Norwegian soprano, Hilde Haraldsen Sveen, and Sandra Mogensen will be collaborating on a Grieg songs recording, concerts, and workshops in the coming year as well.
Sandra is drawn to the music of recent and living composers, as well as jazz and the art of improvisation. She is excited to be currently developing programming ideas that reinvent and reinvigorate the recital format and heighten the listener’s experience of connection, relevance and meaning. Exploring the use of visual elements and improvisation, reorganizing the typical recital structure and reexamining conventional recital practices form the basis of this evolving work.
Sandra Mogensen did her early musical studies with her mother, Edite Mogensen, in Sarnia, Ontario. Sandra's further training as a pianist has taken her to study with Damjana Bratuz at the University of Western Ontario, the Orff-Instiut Abteilung of the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen where she studied with Friedrich Gürtler, and to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ where she received the Master’s of Music in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying, studying with J.J.Penna and Dalton Baldwin.
For eight years Sandra Mogensen held the position of Faculty Pianist at the annual National Music Camp of Canada at Lake Couchiching and was a founding member of the National Piano Trio, ensemble-in-residence at NMC. A versatile musician, Sandra has extensive experience with chamber music, musical theatre and choral repertoire, as well as music in liturgy. Well-versed in German, French, Danish, Norwegian, and Latvian, Ms. Mogensen is well known for her language and diction coaching. Ms. Mogensen has had an extensive teaching career and enjoys mentoring musicians in their processes of self-discovery and artistic development.