Friday, November 27, 2009

Hilary Hahn

Hilary Hahn is an American violinist and writer born on November 27, 1979 (Perlman was 33 years old.) She began violin lessons at age four. One of her first teachers was Klara Berkovitch (Baltimore), with whom she studied for five years (1984-1989.) At age ten, Hahn entered the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Jascha Brodsky for seven years, learning most of the standard violin repertory - the same 30 concertos that everyone else plays. Hahn also later studied with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir, among others. She began concertizing in 1991 (at age 12) but did not make her Carnegie Hall debut until 1996, by then already an established artist. Her graduation from Curtis came in 1999 though her bachelor of music degree belies the fact that she is one of the best (and most expensive) violinists on the world's classical music scene. Hahn's technique is characterized by extreme precision and an even, clear, lean tone. Her sound has few distinguishing features - it is very similar to that produced by a dozen other great violinists on the current concert stage. Her interpretations are subtle, well-defined, controlled, and cautious, not given to an abundance of emotion or idiosyncrasy. Her approach is similar to Anna-Sophie Mutter's in that there is a decided lack of bravado or go-for-broke risk-taking - the opposite approach as takes Leila Josefowicz or Arabella Steinbacher or Ivry Gitlis.  Hahn reminds me of a quote from E.N. Bilbie's book: She has "little to say and so much to say it with."  Her discography is already extensive and is easily accessible on the internet. In addition to having her own website (where she posts journal entries on a regular basis), she has a profile page on MySpace. One can also see and hear videos of her playing on YouTube. Unfortunately, not all of those videos are professionally produced.

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