Bernhard Joachim Hagen

Bernhard Joachim Hagen (April 1720 in or near Hamburg (?) – December 9, 1787 in Ansbach) was a German composer, violinist and lutenist. He was the last important composer of lute music in 18th century Germany.

Little is known about his youth, but he obviously grew up in a musical family: his brother Peter Albrecht Hagen (also called Peter Albert van Hagen, 1714 - September 12, 1777) studied the violin with Francesco Geminiani, learned to play the lute and organ, and was an organist in Rotterdam. There are several transcriptions of Geminiani's violin works for lute by J.B. Hagen extant.

The younger Bernhard Joachim Hagen must have learned to play lute and violin early too, for in 1737 he was already employed as an assistant to Bayreuth violin virtuoso and Kapellmeister Johann Pfeiffer; later he was listed officially as a court violinist. He kept this position at the Bayreuth and since 1769 the Ansbach court until his death. Adam Falckenhagen and Charles Durant (Carol Duranowski), also called to the Bayreuth court by Wilhelmine of Bayreuth, may have further trained him in playing the lute.

In 1745, Hagen married Anna Fikentscher (born in Bayreuth; died May 22, 1789 in Ansbach). During 1760/1761 he visited his brother in Rotterdam and there gave five concerts from November till March.

Although Hagen was employed at the Bayreuth court as a violinist, his virtuoso lute performances and his compositions for lute were known and appreciated. He is one of the most important composers for lute in the era following Sylvius Leopold Weiss, and far more important than his teachers Falckenhagen and Durant. His style is shaped by the Empfindsamkeit and the beginning of the Sturm und Drang period. There is a clearly discernible influence of Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach in Hagen's music.