American violinist Hilary Hahn performs at Washington

Hilary Hahn
Hilary Hahn (Photo: Peter Miller)

Washington, D.C., Jan 16, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio) Named Gramophone magazine's Artist of the Year in 2008, violinist Hilary Hahn is a two-time Grammy Award-winning soloist celebrated for her probing interpretations, and technical brilliance. Hahn performs works by Fauré, Corelli and Bach and the D.C. debut of a selection from her 27 Encores commission in her sixth WPAS performance since her debut on WPAS’ Kreeger Series in 1997.

Said the San Francisco Chronicle of a performance of Elgar’s Violin Concerto, Hahn “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, and 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.”

Who: Hilary Hahn, violin with Cory Smythe, piano
When: Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 4 p.m.
Where: Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Fauré Sonata No. 1 in A, Op. 13
Corelli Sonata No. 4 in F, Op. 5
Bach Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D
Various Selections from In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores

Tickets, priced $35-95, available at or 202-785-9727

For a decade and-a half, extensive touring and acclaimed recordings have made Hahn one of the most sought-after artists on the international concert circuit. She appears regularly with the world’s elite orchestras and on the most prestigious recital series in Europe, Asia, Australasia, and North and South America. She has also 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 and the National Symphony Orchestra.

In the 15 years since she began recording, Hahn has released 12 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. A concerto recording, which paired Schoenberg and Sibelius, debuted at No. 1 and spent the next 23 weeks on the Billboard classical charts, bringing Hahn her second Grammy: the 2009 Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra. Hahn’s former teacher, composer Jennifer Higdon, wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning concerto for her that was released on CD in 2010, along with the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. In 2011, Hahn released Charles Ives: Four Sonatas, performed with Valentina Lisitsa, and in 2012 she released an improvisational CD titled Silfra with the pianist Hauschka.

Nearly a decade ago, Hahn began to notice that new encore pieces were not being showcased as much as other types of contemporary works and started work on In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores. Hahn commissioned over two dozen composers to write short-form pieces for acoustic violin and piano so as to showcase works by contemporary composers. The encores premiere over the  2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. A recording will be released in the 2013-14 season.

Hahn 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, she was named “America’s Best Young Classical Musician” by Time.

An engaging personality, Hahn is an avid writer and interviewer, posting journal entries and information for young musicians and concertgoers on her website, In video, she produces a YouTube channel,, and serves as guest host for the contemporary classical music blog Sequenza21. Her violin case “comments” on life as a traveling companion, on Twitter at @violincase. In addition, Hahn has made guest appearances on two albums by the alt-rock band …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and on Grand Forks by Tom Brosseau, and she has collaborated and toured with folk-rock singer-songwriter Josh Ritter.

Hahn has received numerous international distinctions including multiple Diapason d'Or and the German Record Critics' Awards, 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.

Hilary Hahn was born in Lexington, Virginia, in 1979. She moved to Baltimore at the age of three and 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 ages ten to 17, Hahn 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 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. She made her German debut at age 15, 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. During her teens she attended the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, and in 1996 made her Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Cory Smythe
Cory Smythe

Pianist Cory Smythe is an inventive improviser, chamber musician, and performer of contemporary classical music. As a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, he has contributed to numerous premieres, worked with composers Philippe Hurel, Dai Fujikura, Steve Lehman, Magnus Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, Mathias Pintscher and Alvin Lucier among many others, and has performed in venues across the U.S. and abroad. His recent performance of solo piano music by Lindberg was praised by the Boston Globe for its "grace and intensity," and a forthcoming recording by ICE (Mode Records) features Cory as the piano soloist in Iannis Xenakis’s Palimpsest.

Cory has played with or among a wide array of artists, including the Greg Osby Four, the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, violinist Hilary Hahn, Present Music, Tyshawn Sorey, and Anthony Braxton. In the spring of 2011 he released his debut album, Pluripotent — a collection of original compositions and improvisations for solo piano which garnered praise from New York Times critic Steve Smith among others. Cory is a graduate of the music schools at Indiana University and the University of Southern California, where his principal teachers were Luba Edlina-Dubinsky and Stewart Gordon.

This performance has been made possible by generous support from Jose Figueroa.

Funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.