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Hilary Hahn

The winning Schoenburger, at last!

December 11, 2008 at 4:52 PM

Thank you to all of the participants in the first-ever (that I know of) Schoenburger recipe contest, suggested by member Stephen Brivati. I enjoyed reading the submissions.

Congratulations to 14-year-old winner Sayre P.! This recipe may be sweeter than Schoenberg’s reputation, but it’s imaginative and thoughtful. According to reliable sources, Schoenberg loved birthdays – so I just had to honor this entry. Here’s the winner:

In honor of Arnold Schoenberg’s 134th birthday on September 13th, my Schoenburger is a sweet and delectable “birthday burger.” My recipe follows:
  • Bun- sponge cake, frosted with maple brown sugar icing, topped with Rice Krispies in place of sesame seeds
  • Burger patty- chocolate cake coated with Oreo crumbs
  • Lettuce- green gummy worms
  • Pickles- kiwi
  • Cheese- a slab of the sponge cake, slathered with yellow sprinkles
  • Ketchup- strawberry sauce
  • Mustard- yellow apricot sauce

And you can’t forget a candle to sing Mr. S “Happy Birthday!”

So, why use the ingredients I chose? Here are some of my reasons:

  • Gummy worms are hard to chew, which reminds me of Schoenberg’s Fantasy for Violin and Piano- it has unusual chords and fingering in the violin part
  • Rice Krispies are my favorite cereal, and I eat them most every day- just like I “digest” Schoenberg’s music on a daily basis
  • Chocolate cake is a favorite “food” of Americans, similar to Schoenberg’s “Weihnachtmusik” is a traditional Christmas song
  • Kiwi skins are tough on the outside, like a first impression of Schoenberg. But once you get past that and learn about his past, you will find his reasoning for his style of composure, and really start to enjoy his music- just like you enjoy the sweet meat of the kiwi after you get past the skin
  • The dark Oreo crumbs represent a badly cooked patty, which aligns with one of Schoenberg’s famous quotes: “My music is not modern, it is merely badly played.”
  • Finally, my burger was overcooked for exactly 13 minutes- representing Schoenberg’s triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number 13, which may have been the root of his death

And because not everyone’s experiences with Schoenberg are positive, I award an honorable mention to the final words of 22-year-old Daniel Fuchs’s recipe:

"When you have finished creating your Schoenburger, don’t be disappointed if it tastes disgusting. This is absolutely normal. There are two ways to deal with that problem:

First, you can try the burger again and again. Perhaps one day you might like it. Perhaps you aren’t mature enough for it yet.

Second, you can just tell other people you like it very much. Probably they will admire your intelligent and progressive taste. ;)"


From Brian Hong
Posted on December 11, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Mrs. Hahn, thank you for this.  What an insightful and creative 14 year old to come up with a recipe like that.


From Dimitri Musafia
Posted on December 11, 2008 at 6:13 PM

That was a lot of fun!

Now, one of Schoenberg's more notorious pupils was born on Sept. 5, and I'm referring to John Cage. Maybe we should try making a recipe for his birthday too.

I humbly submit my entry already, should someone take the initiative and set up such a contest.

Ingredients: nothing. Time to prepare: exactly 4' 33". Cooking temperature? Hmm... no, got it: minus 273°C!

From Tom Holzman
Posted on December 11, 2008 at 6:21 PM

Ms. Hahn - I love the recipe and hope you avoid the "indigestion" many of us get when listening to Schoenberg's music.   There was a reason why in Nazi Germany the Jewish Kulturbund Orchestra could not get folks to come to concerts where they played his music, even though it was some of the limited repertoire the Nazis permitted.  Anyhow, I admire those who like his music and get pleasure out of it.  Happy B'day Arnold. 

From Royce Faina
Posted on December 11, 2008 at 6:28 PM

The creativity shown in this recipe! I love it too much!

And good to hear from you Maestra Hahn!

From Bill Busen
Posted on December 11, 2008 at 9:36 PM

Finally, my burger was overcooked for exactly 13 minutes

But the temperatures for the first twelve minutes are randomly chosen and all different?

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on December 11, 2008 at 10:42 PM


I am finally immortalized!

Ms. Hahn, will be at your Ives concert in Nagoya.  If I syand up and shoud `Schoenburger do you promise to wave?`



From Laurie Niles
Posted on December 11, 2008 at 11:16 PM

By the way, congratulations on your Grammy nomination for Best Classical Album for the Schoenberg and Sibelius album!

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on December 11, 2008 at 11:19 PM

Ms. Hahn, Thanks for your article about the recipe contest.  That was really fun, and the winning response was very creative.  Dimitri, I love your recipe in honor of John Cage.  Beethoven's birthday is coming up soon.  I think we need a recipe for him.

From E. Smith
Posted on December 12, 2008 at 12:39 AM

 This is so charming and whimsical. Thank you for posting it!

From Paul G.
Posted on December 12, 2008 at 12:59 AM

Actually, two nominations:)

She's up for the Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) as well. (For the Schoenberg and Sibelius)

From Craig Coleman
Posted on December 12, 2008 at 5:53 AM

Hi Hilary,

Thanks for sharing. I'm also looking forward to your next cd and will be at your concert in Tokyo. Also congratulations on the nomination.

All the best.


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on December 12, 2008 at 2:48 PM


We all love your playing Hilary!



From Christopher McGovern
Posted on December 13, 2008 at 4:18 PM

Yes, congrats on the Grammy nods, Hilary! :)

This CD definitely deserves them (Not that the others didn't)!

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