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Hilary Hahn

  • Violinist

Biography

Hilary Hahn appears regularly with the world elite orchestras and on the most prestigious recital series in Europe, Asia, Australasia, and North and South America. In addition, she has toured the United States, Russia, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Israel, Great Britain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Scotland, Croatia, China, Japan, and Korea as guest soloist with traveling orchestras, among them the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, DC), Detroit Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Recent recital tours and solo concert collaborations have taken her throughout the United States, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Japan. In a special project this season, Hahn joins baritone Matthias Goerne, soprano Christine Schäfer and the Munich Chamber Orchestra for a series of European concerts featuring arias from their album Bach: Violin and Voice, which was released on Deutsche Grammophon in January 2010.

In the dozen years since she began recording, Hahn has released eleven feature albums on the Deutsche Grammophon and Sony labels, in addition to three DVDs, an Oscar-nominated movie soundtrack, an award-winning recording for children, and various compilations. In repertoire as diverse as Bach, Stravinsky, Elgar, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, Mozart, Schoenberg, Paganini, Spohr, Barber, Bernstein, Korngold, and others, her recordings have received every critical prize in the international press and have met with equal popular success. All have spent weeks on Billboard's Classical Top Ten list. Hahn's most recent concerto recording, which paired Schoenberg and Sibelius, debuted at No. 1 and spent the next twenty-three weeks on the Billboard classical charts. The album brought Hahn her second Grammy: the 2009 Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra. Her first Grammy win came in 2003 for her Brahms and Stravinsky concerto album.

On DVD, Hahn first appeared in a live recording of Mozart's Concerto 4 in Royal Albert Hall, in the millennial concert of the Last Night of the Proms in London in 2000. Six years later she was the subject of a full-length documentary, Hilary Hahn: A Portrait, which included with its interviews and other features a complete live performance of the Korngold violin concerto. In April 2007, she played Mozart's Concerto 3 as soloist in Pope Benedict XVI's 80th birthday celebration at the Vatican--an event subsequently released as a concert DVD by Deutsche Grammophon.

While primarily a classical musician, Hahn participates in a number of other projects and collaborations. In 2004, she was the violin soloist on James Newton Howard's Oscar-nominated soundtrack to M. Night Shyamalan's film The Village. In 2005 and 2006, she appeared as a guest on albums by the alt-rock band …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead. More recently, she wrote and performed violin tracks for singer/songwriter Tom Brosseau's record Grand Forks. Hahn works frequently with folk-based singer/songwriter Josh Ritter; they have toured together in Canada, Europe, the United States, and Japan. Hahn is also active on the contemporary classical music scene. In 1999, she premiered and recorded the violin concerto written for her by the American bassist and composer Edgar Meyer, and in 2009 she did the same with Jennifer Higdon's violin concerto, also written for her. A recording of the Higdon concerto will be released on Deutsche Grammophon in September 2010 alongside the Tchaikovsky concerto.

Hahn has received numerous international distinctions throughout her career, including - to name a few - multiple Diapason "d'Or of the Year" and "Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik" (German Record Critics' Award) prizes, the 2008 Classical FM / Gramophone Artist of the Year, the Cannes Classical Award, and the ECHO Klassik Artist of the Year and other ECHO awards. She has appeared on the covers of all major classical music publications and has been featured in mainstream periodicals such as Vogue, Elle, Town and Country, and Marie Claire. In 2001, Hahn was named "America's Best Young Classical Musician" by Time Magazine. And in January 2010 she appeared as guest artist, playing Bartok and Brahms, on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

Hilary Hahn was born in Lexington, Virginia, in 1979. At the age of three, she moved to Baltimore, where she began playing the violin one month before her fourth birthday in the Suzuki program of the Peabody Conservatory. From the age of five Hahn studied in Baltimore with Klara Berkovich, a native of Odessa who taught for 25 years at the Leningrad School for the Musically Gifted. From 10 to 17, she studied at The Curtis Institute of Music with the legendary Jascha Brodsky—the last surviving student of the great Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye—working closely with him until his death at age 89. Hahn completed her university degree requirements at 16, but she deferred graduation and remained at Curtis for several more years, taking additional elective courses in languages, literature, writing, and drama; studying chamber music with Felix Galimir and pianist Gary Graffman; and coaching regularly, after Mr. Brodsky's death, with violinist Jaime Laredo. She graduated from The Curtis Institute at age 19 with a Bachelor of Music degree.

Hahn's major orchestral debut came with the Baltimore Symphony in 1991, the year after she entered Curtis. Her international debut followed at age 14 in Hungary, playing Bernstein with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. In March 1995, at age 15, she made her German debut, playing the Beethoven concerto with Lorin Maazel and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a concert broadcast on radio and television throughout Europe. Two months later, she received the Avery Fisher Career Grant in New York. For several summers in her teens she attended the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, and in 1996 she made her Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

An entertaining and enthusiastic writer, Hahn posts journal entries and information for young musicians on her website (www.hilaryhahn.com). In video, she produces a YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/hilaryhahnvideos) and serves as guest interviewer for Sequenza21, the contemporary classical music blog. Elsewhere, her violin case comments on life as a traveling companion, on Twitter (www.twitter.com/violincase).