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Laurie Niles

Going to the Tonight Show to see Hilary Hahn

January 15, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Yesterday afternoon, Robert and I made it our duty to fatten the classical music booster section in the studio audience for the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, with Hilary Hahn as the guest performing artist.

So we drove over to Universal Studios from our place in Pasadena -- with no traffic on a sunny day -- and took our seats in the studio that seats about 500. As people filed in, I wondered how many of them were big classical music fans, and on the other hand, how many had come to see Rob Lowe, or just to see one last show before the whole thing possibly gets cancelled.

Hilary's mom and dad? Definitely classical music fans. The lady in the high boots and leather jacket? Mmm. She's possibly here for Rob Lowe. The next lady in the high boots and leather jacket...Okay, let's just say we were in the minority!

No matter, everyone gave Hilary a hearty cheer (made heartier by my screaming myself hoarse) and off she went.

Some thoughts: this is not the easiest venue for a performance. They tape this as if it is a live show. The curtain opens and BOOM, you're on, and all those double stops better be ready. Not only that, but all those great camera angles we see on television are the result of about four cameras, some which roll around like golf carts with others suspended from booms. How did she keep her concentration, with all those cameras wheeling around, zooming in and out? There was so much motion, yet there she was, centered, poised. Kudos, Hilary. And what a win for classical music, that she was scheduled -- and rose so elegantly to the occasion -- on this night when so many people were watching.

So here is the video. Currently, the video of just Hilary is not available, but when it is, I will replace it. Hilary's performance can be found about a half-hour into the program (you can skip, you'll just have to sit through some commercials) at 36:42 to 41:12.

As for the rest of the show, 1:36 into this video, you can see Robert and me in the audience, up three rows, and over three seats is me, then four seats is Robert. Woohoo! After that is some raunchy humor. The segment with Rob Lowe was actually pretty entertaining and family-friendly, it's at 20:50.

(If the above video is difficult to use, it's pretty easy to skip around on Hulu, here is the link for the Tonight Show on Hulu.)

From Jamie Puffer
Posted on January 15, 2010 at 7:22 PM

It was an awesome performance.  Do you know what piece she was playing?

From Nicole Stacy
Posted on January 15, 2010 at 8:08 PM

I think it was one of the Brahms Hungarian Dances, and part (not all for whatever reason) of the Bartok Roumanian Folk Dances.

From Robert Niles
Posted on January 15, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Laurie retweeted Hilary's publicist last night, who said "Hilary is playing Brahms Hungarian Dance #12, arr. Joachim, and Bartok Romanian Dances V and VI, arr. Szekely, on The Tonight Show tonight."

(You can follow Laurie on Twitter via @violinist.)

From Theodor Taimla
Posted on January 15, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Only from inside of united states? Now that sucks.. I suppose I could just change my ip and watch it. Anyway, I'll take a look at it later! :)

From Jamie Puffer
Posted on January 15, 2010 at 10:09 PM

Thanks very much!

Posted on January 15, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Thanks Laurie; YOU ARE THE BEST

 indeed an interesting slant on TV production


what's this violin stuff??????????????

Conan stated it best when he commented on her memorizing the music..."Gee, I can't even read the cue cards"

Television content is just horrible in this country...HORRIBLE

Hilary was wonderful, though...would have been nice for a little conversation, but the host would be lacking for anything intelligent anyway

From Christopher Ciampoli
Posted on January 16, 2010 at 6:04 AM

What an interesting chinrest...does anyone know what it was? Seems to emphasize the "rest" part...

From Kay Pech
Posted on January 16, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Bravo to Hilary !!

This was an excellent segment for the Tonight Show, way above the junk Conan usually provides. Thanks for the link.

Unfortunately, this fine piano collaborator got NO MENTION... who was she?

From Rick Savadow
Posted on January 16, 2010 at 4:22 PM

I & a couple of friends attended Hilary Hahn's Bach Party at (le) Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village on Tuesday, a CD launch for her new album. Interesting hearing a classical music in a night club. Rock blasting as we walked in, and rock blasting as soon as it was over (boo'd by the audience to a much softer volume). But it was fun and intimate. Wonderful playing by Hilary & her friends, and the totally enjoying the 3 B's - Bach, Beer & Bratwurst- very yummie. Christine Schäfer and Matthias Goerne were not in town to perform with her so she brought along several musical friends to perform & talk with her. Disappointingly, she only played 2 pieces & then her friends performed. It really was sad that she didn't get to speak on the Tonight show, because she is so articulate, interviewing her friends on what Bach means to them. As we know, she can also be very funny, so she would be a great interview on any venue.

From Mabel MacMillan
Posted on January 16, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Wow, what a performance! Her choice of pieces was dead-on, in my opinion; she rocked the house!

I also wonder, however, who her accompanist was. As the wife of a pianist, I am aware of the important role she played.

Thank you for posting this, Laurie!

From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 17, 2010 at 2:01 AM

Hilary's collaborator was pianist Valentina Lisitsa.

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