Hilary Hahn In-depth Biography
Hilary Hahn} emerged in 1997 as a remarkably complete violinist at the age of 17. She recalls that she started violin because at the age of three, while she and her father were out for a walk, she noticed a sign outside a prep school that said "Music Lessons, Four Years Old and Up." She wandered inside. "I remember watching a little boy play 'Twinkle, Twinkle' on a little violin. I knew when I saw him that it was something I really wanted to try." After beginning lessons, she was soon referred to teacher Klara Berkovich}. Berkovich} was revered in her Russian homeland for her 25-year career as a teacher at the Leningrad School for the Musically Gifted. Berkovich} used to tell Hahn} "You only have to practice on days you eat." Hahn} came to love the regimen of practicing, spending five and a half hours a day at the violin. As for the rest of her education, much of it came through home-schooling courses so that she would have sufficient time for music. At the age of nine she debuted with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra}. She credits Baltimore's conductor David Zinman}, as one of her primary mentors.
At ten she enrolled in Philadelphia's Curtis School of Music, spending weekdays staying with her father in that city. Her violin teacher there was Jascha Brodsky}. She won the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Development Grant at the age of 15 and she graduated from Curtis with a Bachelor of Music degree at the age of 19. Her usual schedule was to practice and study most days, with an average of a week or two a month spent in travelling and performing.
Hahn} has appeared with the symphony orchestras of St. Louis, Cologne, Cleveland, and many others; at the end of the year 2000 she moved straight from a recital tour into an international concerto tour that included appearances in England, Germany, Japan, and Singapore. Hahn}'s first CD release, on Sony}, was a best-selling set of Bach} solo sonatas and partitas. In 1999 her recording of the Beethoven} violin concerto, with Zinman} conducting the Baltimore Symphony}, was nominated for a Grammy award, and something of a publicity juggernaut began to build around the slender, technically flawless prodigy. Hahn}'s third release fell squarely amidst the effort by Sony} to broaden the classical music public by focusing on accessible works. Bluegrass-classical fusionist Edgar Meyer} composed a concerto especially for Hahn}, and it was paired with the perennially crowd-pleasing concerto of Samuel Barber}. Her 2002 recording of the Mendelssohn} and Shostakovich} (No. 1) concertos was also a Grammy winner. ~ Joseph Stevenson, All Music Guide