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Hilary Hahn's Violin Evokes The City Of Light

Courtesy of Hilary Hahn

Acclaimed classical violinist Hilary Hahn returns to Musician’s Spotlight on the heels of the release of her latest recording, Paris. She's won three Grammy awards, recorded twenty feature albums, commissioned several works (including a Pulitzer Prize-winning concerto by Jennifer Higdon), been featured on the Oscar-nominated soundtrack of the film The Village, collaborated with a who's who of ensembles, performed in unconventional venues like yoga studios and knitting circles, played for the pope...and visited Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
"That was a dream I didn't know I had till I was in the middle of it. I grew up without tv in the house, so when we would go on our annual beach trip and stay in a motel for a week, I would always scan all the channels to see if Mr. Rogers was on. I was just in love with that show. When I got an invitation to visit the Mr. Rogers show, I had been playing a lot in Pittsburgh at the time, and I think that's why they thought of me, because that's where they were based. Mr. Rogers was the exact same way in person that he is on the shows, and it was such a sweet experience. I also was wondering, "When is it okay for me to speak in this episode?" because he was asking such deep questions, I could have answered for hours...but then it's Mr. Rogers! I didn't want to talk over Mr. Rogers."

Hahn's 2021 recording, Paris, reflects time spent playing music in one of her favorite cities. She began working with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France more than twenty years ago.  "That orchestra has a particular combination of tone qualities and musicianship that is really beautiful; it's touching how they make music, but it's also pretty straightforward.  All the works on the recording were premiered in Paris or put their composer on the map in the Parisian musical scene. I play a French violin, and that's unusual. I live in whatever Paris neighborhood I'm playing in that week. It's as much of a a residency as you get as a touring artist."

(Broadcast: Musician's Spotlight,  4/13/21 and 7/27/21. Listen on the radio Tuesdays, 7 p.m., or via podcast.)

John Floridis, the host and producer of Musician's Spotlight, has been with Montana Public Radio since 1997. He has interviewed over 200 musicians during that time. He is also an independent recording and performing artist in his own right and a former registered music therapist.
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