Here's How to See Hilary Hahn on a Prairie Home Companion This Weekend

October 23, 2017, 7:03 PM · Suddenly the radio show A Prairie Home Companion got a whole lot more interesting to me -- Hilary Hahn will be performing in this week's show, along with mandolinist Chris Thile, who is starting his second season as host of the program. Two of my favorite artists!

Chris
PHC host and mandolinist Chris Thile and violinist Hilary Hahn.

It's being broadcast live at 2:45 p.m Saturday from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium - that's near where I live! Not only that, if you are anywhere near Los Angeles, I have two sets of tickets to give away, but more on that in a bit.

For many years I've passively listened to this NPR show, with its host Garrison Keillor, a brilliant, deep-voiced storyteller grounded in the classic radio tradition, with his Midwestern folk wisdom and tales, silly acts and fake commercials, as well as a lot of high-quality musical acts. It always felt like jumping back to the time of my grandparents. Keillor could spin a yarn, and I don't think even he knew where it was going some of the time, but it was captivating.

When mandolinist Chris Thile took over as host of the show in 2016, I really did wonder what would happen. He's so different from Garrison Keillor! He's young, grounded in this century more than the last. Thile grew up in California, not Minnesota; and he lives in New York. He's a tenor, not a bass.

"Join me for my second season of being 'not Garrison Keillor!'" Thile said recently in an NPR pitch for the show.

Thile was Keillor's handpicked successor, having known Thile since his first appearance the show back in 1996, when he was just 15. But I don't think Keillor was looking for someone to "fill his shoes"; I think he was simply looking for the best live performer he could find, someone who loved and respected the show and its traditions but who ultimately would help it evolve.

And it is beginning to take its own direction. Thile has started to create a few segments of his own: for example, writing a new song each week; or the spontaneous creation of an ad-libbed pop tune medley filled with texted requests. The more it becomes Thile's show, the more I like it.

This Saturday's guests include: Hilary Hahn, Fiona Apple, Dan Auerbach, Robert Finley, and comedian Nick Offerman.

To enter to win tickets from Violinist.com: Just reply to this post! Tell us something you like about either Hilary Hahn or Chris Thile, or your thoughts on PHC, or just "I'd love to go!" You must be registered and logged in for your reply to count, and we will consider only one entry per person, so don't bother spamming the replies. Each winner will get two tickets to the show - it's up to you to get to the theater and claim the tickets at will call. We will announce the winners on Friday. To simply buy tickets, click here for the Prairie Home Companion tickets page.

UPDATE: The contest is now closed and winners have been notified. Tune in to your local radio station to hear the broadcast this weekend! If you are near Pasadena, Calif., and would like tickets to the live show, click here for the Prairie Home Companion tickets page.

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Replies

October 24, 2017 at 03:06 AM · Oh geez, I have loved Thile since he and the Watkins siblings were doing Nickel Creek. Love what he's creating with A Prairie Home Companion. EDIT: Remove me from the competition; I'll be at another concert Saturday night. Kudos to whoever wins, tho!

October 24, 2017 at 03:17 AM · When it comes to the kinds of musical acts that appeared on PHC over the years, it's pretty obvious that Thile can hang with the best of them. (In fact, he *is* the best of them.) So he was a natural choice. I can't go .. but my brother and his wife live in that area! So please put my name in the hat for them!

October 24, 2017 at 04:14 AM · I can't make it to SoCal, so count me out for the tickets. I really miss Garrison Keillor, you know, "Lives of the Cowboys," "Guy Noir, Private Eye," "Ruth Harrison, Reference Librarian," etc., but Chris Thile is doing a great job too. Thanks for the reminder that Hilary Hahn will be on this week, wish I could go, but I can still listen!

October 24, 2017 at 05:25 AM · I'm a Nickel Creek fan, too!

October 24, 2017 at 06:25 AM · I too was worried about Garrison Keillor leaving PHC. I love the mandolin stuff Chris does, but I miss Guy Noir, Private Eye. I was hoping they'd bring that back.

On the whole, Chris is filling in admirably. Was sorta hoping that a few times a year, Garrison would guest. My CA friends do not get PHC! Must be an eastern/mid-west thing. Ruth Harrison - just saw the post - reminds me of Saturday Night Live, for some reason... The acoustic music they do on the show, both pre and post Keillor, is fantastic. I have never had the opportunity to see PHC live, so this would be quite the treat!

As far as Hahn, I love her playing, and the fact that she bucked the trend with a Vuillaume instead of a "strad" or GdG. She single handedly led to a huge price increase for any Vuillaume at auction...

If you send me, I promise to either write an article for v.com, and ask if I could take some pix to post... :-D

OMG - just saw that Fiona Apple will be there too! Wow, what a show. Apple is also an audiophile's performer, she has done pristine recording for Chesky Records.

October 24, 2017 at 06:30 AM · Both Hilary and Chris were childhood idols of mine and I grew up listening to Prairie Home Companion in MN, this combo is too good to be true!

October 24, 2017 at 06:58 AM · I especially enjoy the show when Aoife O’Donovan is a guest and she sings duets with Chris Thile. (Please don’t put me in for tickets. I live on the East Coast.)

October 24, 2017 at 04:53 PM · I have been a fan of Hilary Hahn since I was 17 and saw her perform live for the first time. Almost 17 years later, I am more fascinated by her career than ever. I now happen to live in Pasadena as well!

October 24, 2017 at 05:11 PM · I live on the East Coast but I happen to be visiting Los Feliz this weekend. My friend is putting me up in his apartment and is actually the biggest PHC fan I know. It would be super fun to treat him to this weekend's show:) Plus, Chris Thile will go down in history as a voice of his generation once the cultural dust settles.

October 24, 2017 at 05:49 PM · My favorite radio program. I would love to see it live!

October 24, 2017 at 05:56 PM · Hillary performing the Bach double and Chris performing on Goat Rodeo are my favorite albums. These two are all over my Spotify:)

October 24, 2017 at 07:18 PM · I've loved Hilary since I was a little girl and saw her on Mr. Rogers!:-) I'd love to go!

October 24, 2017 at 07:36 PM · Alas, I have a Halloween Concert this weekend. The 7 - 13 year olds and myself (a 68 1/2 year old) will be kicking out the tunes in our costumes. I saw A Prairie Home Companion in 1977 when it was just a couple of 4X8 platforms set up on a lawn in downtown St. Paul, and again in 2011 at the Fitzgerald Theater. It's a lot of fun. Enjoy!

October 24, 2017 at 10:21 PM · Let's see... I was lucky enough to see both of Hillary Hahn's in 27 pieces recitals at Disney Hall. I want to learn mandolin (I already play violin)(where is the time?) I like the old PHC but haven't heard the new one so what a great way to start. Oh and I want to go! :)

October 25, 2017 at 12:31 AM · When we lived in Asheville, we would see the Punch Brothers (Chris Thiele's band in the 2000s) every year at this tiny venue. Both my husband and I enjoy the more musical direction he is taking Prairie Home (although I will miss guy noir :))

We bow out of the ticket competition - we can't make it this weekend but enjoy the show whoever goes.

October 25, 2017 at 12:56 AM · I think Chris Thile is a musical genius!! I have to admit I have a little crush on him!

October 25, 2017 at 03:37 PM · Chris Thile is my favorite artist. Ever since he took over PHC, I have been absolutely obsessed - I'm dying to go!

October 26, 2017 at 03:09 AM · Wow. What a wonderful opportunity to see 2 great artists in my hometown. I would love to go.

October 26, 2017 at 05:35 AM · Something I like about Hilary Hahn? She has made classical music accessible to a younger audience and kept the tradition alive. And for that, I say thank you, Hilary.

October 29, 2017 at 01:08 AM · I have loved that show from the first time I ever listened over 25 years ago. I loved it before, and I love it now. I am not about comparing the two, but I do love that Thile has seemed to hold on to those parts of the show that still makes its title true, while adding his own flavor to the show. How prescient of Garrison Keillor to chose Chris Thile! I heard a portion of the show this evening, fortunately it was the portion that had Hahn's playing! I am looking forward to tomorrow's re-broadcast on our station.

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