By Carolyn Lund
She has played with some of the best orchestras in the world, released nine albums and received countless accolades ? one of them being named America?s Best Young Classical Musician by Time magazine in 2001 ? all by the age of 25.
Grammy-award winning violinist Hilary Hahn will perform tonight in Salt Lake City. Now an accomplished musician, she began studying the violin at age 3 and was quickly deemed a child prodigy.
Hahn, a native of Baltimore, was accepted to Philadelphia?s Curtis Institute of Music at age 10, and said studying there gave her an unparalleled environment in which to learn.
Though Hahn completed the graduation requirements at 16, she continued taking elective courses there until she graduated with a bachelor?s degree at 19.
Rather unique compared to other colleges, the prestigious school gives full-tuition scholarships to all students. Curtis is highly selective and currently has a student body of a mere 163 students.
?Curtis is a very small school and the students all know each other,? Hahn said. ?Sure, I didn?t go to many college parties, but at the same time I wasn?t put in weird grown-up situations because people were watching out for me. It was actually really good because I felt like I had a huge family of siblings.?
It was at Curtis where she first teamed with pianist Natalie Zhu, who joins her on tour. The duo are defying classical tradition by opting to travel cross-country not by plane, but by bus.
?I?ve been sick of flying for recital tours because you get up early after a concert, wait for your luggage, get to the venue and then all the different air pressure really affects my hands,? Hahn said. ?It doesn?t hurt them, but my coordination isn?t quite right until about 24 hours after my flight.?
Hahn said she practices three to six hours every day, and never grows weary of rehearsing. Her schedule is so different each day that she said she looks forward to the tedium of practicing.
?It?s kind of a relief to get to stay at home and practice,? Hahn said. ?Being able to practice every day stabilizes me a little bit. The better you prepare, the better you practice, and the more you practice, the better you are on stage.?
Hahn made her major orchestral debut with the Baltimore Symphony a year and a half after being admitted to Curtis. Since that time, she has shared the stage with some of the premier orchestras around the world: the London Symphony, Philadelphia, Cleveland and New York Philharmonic to name a few.
?The nice thing about touring is I get to see different audiences and different halls,? Hahn said. ?What I?m trying to do first and foremost is get the music across to the audience and also learn something about myself.?
Her debut album, featuring solo sonatas and partitas by J.S. Bach, was released when she was 17, and brought her talent to the forefront of the classical music scene. The New York Times described the album as ?amazing,? and BBC Magazine called it ?an exciting debut.?
Since then, Hahn has released several more albums, including ?The Village? soundtrack, where she is a soloist.
In 2003, Hahn was awarded a Grammy award for ?Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra? for her recording of the Brahms and Stravinsky concertos.
Hahn?s most recent album is a recording of Mozart sonatas she performed with Zhu. Hahn said the main focus of her work is to enjoy the experience of partnering with others.
?Within classical music, it doesn?t really matter where you come from and what age you are,? Hahn said. ?It just matters how you work with the person and how much you enjoy the collaboration.?
Hahn will perform at 7:30 p.m. at Libby Gardner Hall on the University of Utah campus. Tickets are $25, or $10 for students, and can be purchased by calling the Kingsbury ticket office at (801) 581-7100.