Hilary Hahn: Born original

Hahn Zukerman1

From 1999: Hahn shares her love of writing, solo Bach, her educational background and her insights on the great violinists of our time

Discover more Featured Stories like this in The Strad Playing Hub

Read more premium content for subscribers here

‘I’ve got this project,’ says Hilary Hahn, tucking her feet up comfortably beneath her on the leather couch. ’Postcards on the Internet. Do you know it?’

Umm. Well. There’s a way of choosing and sending an internet postcard by email. Is that what she means?

‘No, no.’ She’s not impatient - she must be used to the slowness of the older generation. ‘I’ve got a website. You go to www.sonyclassical.com - if you click on my name you can get to my website through Sony. I’ve been writing this series - over 30 postcards. I send them by email. I have a digital camera with me, so I take pictures and send them electronically and I write about stuff I’m doing on the road.’

Is that so surprising? She may be the first young soloist on the world circuit to dream it up, but it’s the kind of thing you could expect from a fiendishly intelligent 19 year old working out ways of keeping in touch while trotting the globe.

An interest in words and writing is less of a given in the field of musical performance, but to Hahn that’s also perfectly normal. She pens sleeve notes for her own CDs. ‘Brilliant and mercurial,’ she writes of the Bernstein Serenade, ‘it strikes me with the freewheeling force of a sophisticated street argument.’

Wow. Where did that come from?

‘Alfred Brendel writes a lot, too,’ she says in self-defence.

You can’t catch her out. Everything that Hilary Hahn does is, to her, is the most natural thing in the world. And that’s how it comes across.

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.