Hilary Hahn has played 1,594 concerts

Hilary Hahn has played 1,594 concerts


norman lebrecht

March 21, 2018

The violinist, 38, keeps a counter on her website.

Can you remember them all? a German journalist asks her.

Das sieht vielleicht viel aus, aber es ist ja mein Beruf und ich habe mein erstes Konzert mit zehn Jahren gegeben. Zählen Sie doch einmal die Menge der Mahlzeiten, die Sie in Ihrem Leben gegessen haben: Das ist so ähnlich und ergibt sicher auch eine erstaunliche Zahl. So gesehen gebe relativ wenig Konzerte.

No more than I remember all the meals I’ve eaten, she says.


  • Gerhard says:

    “No more than I remember all the meals I’ve eaten, she says.”
    No, she doesn’t.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      paraphrasing her, she does.

    • bratschegirl says:

      Well, I have to start off by acknowledging that I only know enough German to parse the performance instructions in Mahler and Hindemith, plus the odd restaurant menu, none of which is really useful in this situation. But if Google Translate is to be believed, not only did Ms. Hahn not say anything resembling that, the interviewer also didn’t ask her anything resembling whether she could remember every concert she’d played. The question translated as whether she was ever taken aback by seeing what a large number of concerts she’d performed, and the answer was (a) it’s not such a big number when you consider I started doing this at the age of ten, (b) it’s not such a big number when you compare it to the number of meals one eats in a lifetime, and (c) it’s fun to look at the number sometimes and think about how many of them I can actually recall specifically. Now, that lends itself to the (entirely reasonable) interpretation that of course she doesn’t recall each individual performance in detail… but the “paraphrasing” here really seems to stretch what she said well beyond recognition.

      • Gerhard says:

        “… but the “paraphrasing” here really seems to stretch what she said well beyond recognition.”

  • Brian says:

    “Hilary Hahn speaks German almost without accentuation – not only because her ancestors come from the Palatinate: she also speaks immaculately Japanese. However, she prefers to answer questions in English – and because of her rustic Baltimore accent she immediately becomes very difficult to understand.”

    I like the suggestion of a “rustic” Baltimore accent (if my Google translate here is correct).

  • Hilary says:

    I like Hilary Hahn. She plays contemporary music, not just the classics.
    Her encore album revealed a broad range of styles, from Silvestrov to Barrett.

    • brian says:

      I agree, she’s an outstanding artist. I saw her once, at a little music hall in Troy, NY with tiny seats and marvelous acoustics. In fact, after intermission she talked a little to the audience, explaining it was her first public performance at Troy Music Hall, though she had been there several times before in the middle of the night to make recordings. She played standard rep, some Vivaldi, a Mozart sonata, Bach, and during the evening began sprinkling in modern and contemporary, some of which had been written for her by various composers. She finished off with a Max Richter piece that had everyone leaving the hall glowing.

  • Olassus says:

    Her counter is off. It, SD, and the HAZ all show 1,594 — but she has given five concerts since the HAZ interview, and the counter hasn’t budged.