Highlights of Violinist Hilary Hahn's Grand Commissioning Project

Recorded Live at Greenwich House on November 3, 2013

Audio will be archived on this page for one week

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hilary Hahn's newest project is called In 27 Pieces: The Hillary Hahn Encores. Hilary Hahn's newest project is called In 27 Pieces: The Hillary Hahn Encores. (Peter Miller/Courtesy of the artist)

Though only 34 years old, violinist Hilary Hahn has been making waves in the classical world for over 20 years through a formidable technique and her tireless advocacy for new music – she commissioned Jennifer Higdon's Pulitzer Prize-winning Violin Concerto.

Her latest project and album, "In 27 Pieces," unites these two strands by commissioning 27 virtuosic encores from an international array of today's most dynamic composers. 

On Nov. 3, Hahn and pianist Cory Smythe performed this ambitious program at a benefit concert for Greenwich House Music School, which was recorded for later broadcast and online archival by Performance Today and Q2 Music. Hear excerpts below for a period of one week.

The 27 featured composers are Antón García Abril, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Lera Auerbach, Richard Barrett, Mason Bates, Tina Davidson, David Del Tredici, Avner Dorman, Du Yun, Søren Nils Eichberg, Christos Hatzis, Jennifer Higdon, James Newton Howard, Bun-Ching Lam, David Lang, Paul Moravec, Nico Muhly, Jeff Myers, Michiru Oshima, Kala Ramnath, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Max Richter, Somei Satoh, Elliott Sharp, Valentin Silvestrov, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Gillian Whitehead.

Comments [4]

Les from Miami, Florida

The Rautavaara and Silvestrov pieces are my favorites. They're both of the singing romantic cantabile line. For joyous virtuosic abandon, I also like the Higdon and Howard pieces. The Auerbach and Richter pieces are long-lined and are both melancholic to my ear. Hilary Hahn had an inspired idea to commission these encores. I like hearing the Rautavaara and Higdon pieces together for contrast; likewise, the Silvestrov and Howard pieces. The Auerbach and Richter pieces are of the same mood, it seems to me, and I think would be perfect to round out and provide contrast for a recital of Bartok and/or Scriabin. I think the Du Yun piece employs quarter tones. Thanks to WQXR for its generosity in allowing us to hear many of the encores.

Dec. 13 2013 10:29 AM
John Harmer from London, UK

Not being a big fan of atonal music, but a being a big admirer of Hilary Hahn's playing I wasn't too sure if I was going to find anything I really liked here. Indeed most I found too disharmonious for my old fashioned ears, but the piece Mercy by Max Richter was a masterpiece - no doubt about that at all in my mind. Thank you.

Dec. 12 2013 08:21 PM
Daniel Ungermann

I'm very surprised what is posible to do, when the style cannot be to correspond to the language actually moderne. The style of the most composers is a kind of "copy" of the music around 1930, but why to talk about style and fechnik of composition when the music is great!! For exemple the piece of Rautawaara is a perfect translation of a romantic little piece to a language more moderne, but still"understable" for a larger public: We can find all elements: A large melody, a passage to show a little bit the virtuosity and a end in the mood of the beginning - so a perfect form, like we can find it in so many romantic pieces. When this kind of compositions will to be continued in larger works, Hilary has done the first step to a new age of a style and technic of composition making a better relation to the public keeping the same quality - GREAT!!!

Dec. 12 2013 07:24 PM
Robert St.Onge from Cochiti Lake,NM

I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Hahn play many of her encore commissions at a recent concert in Santa Fe. I thought at the time, and continue to think hearing these performances, thank God for performers like Ms. Hahn whose sense of taste, discernment and musical adventure continue to add substance to this wonderful art form we all love so much.

Dec. 12 2013 12:35 PM

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