Listen to Liane Hansen talk with Hilary Hahn.
Hilary Hahn's New CD Features Brahms and Stravinsky Concertos
Dec. 16, 2001 -- When National Public Radio interviewed violinist Hilary Hahn in 1997, she was just 17 -- and was being referred to as a "child prodigy."
Hilary Hahn at work
Photo: Sony Music
Now 22, Hahn, still mature for her years, tells Liane Hansen that her youth doesnít make her feel special now, and it didnít back then. "I never felt like a prodigy because I didnít follow what people sometimes referred to as the prodigy circuit." In other words, she kept live performances to a minimum, she stayed in school, and she took the time she needed to figure out how to be a popular performer and a musician on the road.
"The most challenging thing is getting enough sleep," she says.
She found time recently to record a new CD, which consists of two concertos -- one by Brahms and one by Stravinsky. As she tells Hansen, both selections were highly personal for her. She chose them in part because of their importance to her teacher at the Curtis Institute, the late Jascha Brodsky.
She also chose them because of their importance to violinists and music aficionados everywhere. "It doesnít seem like they go together, because they're very different from each other," she says. "But if you look at the history of it, the interesting thing is that both concerti were written by non-violinist composers who worked with violinists."
Between recording and performing live, Hahn also finds time to maintain an online journal. In it, she includes written musings on the history and life of the cities she visits, as well as photographs she takes on the road. "For me, it's a chance to find out more about the places that I'm in and also provide a tool for people who are curious what it's like to be on the road and what it's like to be a classical musician," she says.
Hilary Hahn's Web site includes a bio, sound clips, and her online journal.