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Musical World

Hilary Hahn

  • Violinist


Hilary Hahn press reviews

“Hahn is one of those rare performers who can dazzle you with the warmth of her personality and knock you dead with the dexterity of her technique and the emotional depth of her interpretations.”  Los Angeles Times

“…she’s a thoroughly outstanding musician, one of the best we have… Her performance of Shostakovich’s Concerto No. 1 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra last season was a memorable event.  It exemplified her cool fire, or her hot iciness, which is one of her most recognizable musical qualities… When Miss Hahn plays, there are things that you, in the audience, simply don’t have to question: intonation, phrasing, purity of sound, precision, interpretive wisdom.   You can simply sit back and listen to the music, which is a rarer treat than it might seem…Miss Hahn has talent, plus a keen musical mind.” The New York Sun

“The program built momentum from Hilary Hahn’s spellbinding account of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1…there is mastery in every silken phrase, every poised lyrical phrase. Chicago Tribune

“Thursday, she again made the work her own, and again did it selflessly.  Technically immaculate, musically magisterial and in every moment communicative, this reading reinstated not only the work’s status as one of Brahms’ masterpieces, but also as one long unbroken song.” Los Angeles Times

“What is there left to say about the Brahms violin concerto other than it’s probably played too often and that a good violinist will make you forget that.  It found one in the 22-year-old American, Hilary Hahn.  It sailed away with her.  Though one of the world’s most difficult solo parts to play, its extensions, double and triple-stop chords held no fear for her, not even at high altitude and softly, where her sound was soaring and sweet, suggesting the pleasure that Brahms found in the view from a mountain top.” The Vancouver Sun

“…the surprising thing about her performances is that she really doesn’t sound young – if young means unseasoned or incompletely developed… Hahn exhibits a restrained grace in performance.  Her style is flowing and warm, free of vulgar affectation and suited to the Sheldon acoustic.  She engages the music boldly and charms the audience without pandering.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“…she demonstrated an extraordinary tone, impeccable technique, astonishing assurance, remarkable taste.  Her sound glistens with warmth: It is pure and round and vibrant, never forced.  Like a well-bred voice, Hahn’s timbre is remarkably even from top to bottom.” Seattle Post-Intelliegencer

“Smooth violinist Hahn is astonishing… One of the most remarkable young talents of our time… Monday’s recital at Benaroya Hall gave ample evidence of a talent that is continuing to grow in both technique and artistry.” The Seattle Times

“Ms. Hahn can make her violin sound achingly sweet, tender and lyrical, as well as forceful and grandly dramatic, and she moves easily between those extremes.  The Brahms [Concerto] asks all this of a violinist, and Ms. Hahn did not squander her opportunities.” The New York Times

“… [in the Elgar Violin Concerto,] the 20-year-old virtuoso demonstrated yet again why she must be reckoned among the most important of today’s violinists, whether old or young.  It isn’t just her technical prowess, though that is astonishing – her bowing is rock-solid, her intonation flawless, her string tone rich and prepossessing.  But what strikes a listener even more forcefully is the confidence and interpretive depth with which her playing embodies the music… There was stolidity, there was grace, there was a vein of tenderness tempered by authentic power – and all of it shaped with a gentle rhythmic propulsiveness that kept the performance alive.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Hahn’s gigantic and luscious sound is worth hearing just for itself.  Even from in the center loge, her sound is intensely present and enveloping… Mercury speed and fluidity of scales and arpeggios, utter security of multiple stops and dead-on intonation are unshakable givens of her technique.  Beyond that, her command of the drama of [Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto] was total.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Hilary Hahn certainly deserves a place in the pantheon of supreme violinists.  At 20, she plays the instrument with a fluency, poise and control that elder fiddling statesmen would envy.  What’s more, Hahn is a musician whose taste and vibrancy animate every note she touches.” The Plain Dealer

“Stravinsky asks a violinist to play with both vinegar and honey in this work, and Ms. Hahn struck exactly the right tone, keeping the outer movements tart and the inner ones lyrical.” The New York Times

“At just 18, the prodigy from Baltimore is already a charismatic and active violinist.  Her effortless technique and sweet sound are documented on disk, but her recordings only partly capture the generosity of spirit and enthusiasm she displayed Thursday in Brahms’ Violin Concerto.  The combination of mechanical mastery and eager exploration of detail gave the Concerto a freshness and a freedom it too seldom receives.” Los Angeles Times