June 25, 2012 at 9:06 PMOn the evening of June 20 I went to hear Hilary Hahn play some unusual music in an unusual venue - the City Winery down on Manhattan's Varick Street (in New York City). It was in the midst of a terrible heat wave, and I almost didn't go - but I'm glad I did. It was a program of semi-improvised music for prepared piano (where all kinds of objects are put into the piano to get unusual sound effects) and amplified violin. There were some nice things here and there, though I wouldn't make a steady diet of it. This will give you an idea:
To play with a prepared and electrified piano, it makes sense to have your violin a bit "prepared", too. No, I don't think that Hilary placed any dimes or ping pong balls in her precious Vuilliaume! But her violin was wired to an amplifier, and she ocassionally pressed a lever with her foot to further alter the sound a bit. As I say, the balance made sense - yet I missed the pure, beautiful Hilary Hahn acoustic sound that I've come to know and love.
Unlike at say, Carnegie Hall, where she would be mobbed backstage by literally hundreds of admirers, there were only about a dozen lined up to see her, and I was first on line. I found her to be quite nice, and completely unaffected. I told her what a big fan I am of hers, asked her to autograph her DVD, and then told her that I was a violinist myself, and asked her if I might share some of my work with her. She was very gracious and said "Sure!" I gave her a copy of my 2nd CD, for which she thanked me and enthusiastically said "congratulations!", and I even gave her a copy - my first hard-copy - of my first printed-up piece "Twinkleiana". I'm glad I had this window of opportunity. And, not that I notice these things, (not much!) but she's even prettier in person than in her photos and videos!
Thus it is with some disappointment that I find her web site to be badly out of date. Surely her managers can do better at updating tour dates and other time-sensitive material. There is a rule in web development: Don't build what you cannot maintain.
I smiled when I noticed also that you can no longer view photographs of Ms. Hahn on her web site -- surely this has decreased her server bandwidth by a significant factor! Evidently she does not want to be known as a "violin beauty" or "fashion plate" in the same way as some others (including some male violinists), and she insists on keeping her private life to herself. That's perfectly understandable. But on the other hand there will always be public fascination with people who are simultaneously talented, accomplished, and attractive.
@Christopher, for a violinist like HH to be updating her own website is a tragic waste of time, especially when obviously she's not very good at it. And when a prominent musician becomes too reclusive, at some point the public will start wondering what they're trying to hide.
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