Hilary Hahn (born November 27, 1979) is an American violinist.

From Wikipedia:

She was born in Lexington, Virginia and began playing the violin one month before her fourth birthday in the Suzuki Program of Baltimore’s Peabody Institute.

Between 1984 and 1989 Hahn studied in Baltimore under Klara Berkovich. In 1990, at ten, she was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she became a student of Jascha Brodsky.  She studied with Brodsky for seven years and learned the études of Kreutzer, Ševčík, Gaviniès, Rode, and the Paganini Caprices. She learned twenty-eight violin concertos, recital programs, and several other short pieces.[2]

In 1991, Hahn made her major orchestral debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Soon thereafter, she debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. In 1995 Hahn made her international debut in Germany and in 1996 she debuted at Carnegie Hall in New York as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

In 1996 when she was sixteen years old, Sony Music signed Hahn to an exclusive recording contract until 2002 and then signed with Deutsche Grammophon in 2003.

In addition to being a solo violinist, she has also performed as a chamber musician. Since the summer of 1992 she has performed nearly every year with the Skaneateles Chamber Music Festival in Skaneateles, New York. Between 1995 and 2000 Hahn performed and studied chamber music at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, and in 1996 she served as an artist and a member of the chamber music mentoring program of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

In an 1999 interview with Strings Magazine, Hahn cited people influential on her development as a musician and a student, including David Zinman, the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony and her mentor since she was ten, Lorin Maazel, with whom she worked in Europe with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.[7]

During concerts she does hope for absolute quiet from the audience during the music. “Not out of snobbishness or holy respect for the music, but just so everyone (including the performers) can hear it.”

On January 14, 2010, Hahn appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien in support of her album, Bach: Violin & Voice and her album reached #1 on a Billboard classical chart. Hahn’s latest album, featuring four sonatas by Ives, was released on October 11, 2011.[11]

In 1999, Hahn stated that she played Bach more than any other composer and that she had played solo Bach pieces every day since she was eight.[2]

Bach is, for me, the touchstone that keeps my playing honest. Keeping the intonation pure in double stops, bringing out the various voices where the phrasing requires it, crossing the strings so that there are not inadvertent accents, presenting the structure in such a way that it’s clear to the listener without being pedantic – one can’t fake things in Bach, and if one gets all of them to work, the music sings in the most wonderful way.”

—Hilary Hahn, Saint Paul Sunday[12]

In a segment on NPR entitled “Musicians in Their Own Words”, Hahn speaks about the surreal experience of playing the Bach Chaconne (from the Partita for Violin No. 2) alone on the concert stage. In the same segment, she discusses her experiences emulating a lark while playing The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams.[13]

This youtube recording has a number of musicians describing her unique gifts…

Her violin is an 1864 copy of Paganini’s Cannone made by Vuillaume. Hahn uses bows by American bow maker Isaac Salchow and French bow makers Emile Ouchard, Paul Jombar, and Emil Miquel.[2]

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