Just in: Hilary Hahn takes a year out

Just in: Hilary Hahn takes a year out


norman lebrecht

September 02, 2019

The foremost US violinist wants some me-time.

She is brave. And exceptionally sane.

Can’t wait to see that sweater she’s knitting.


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Today’s September 1, the first day of my year-long #sabbatical. Last night, I played a concert in Germany with my friends @dkambremen. And then, when I woke this morning, just like that, this thing I’ve been planning for a decade had begun. It’s super nice and intriguing to begin this stretch of luxurious time, and it’s simultaneously a little intimidating. I love performing, touring, and making music with my colleagues. I’ll miss that for a while. But I love other things too, and I’m curious what it’s like to see Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer pass in steady succession. In recent weeks, I’ve been thinking back on the 2018-19 concert season, my #Bach focus year. So much has happened in a relatively short time! I released two solo albums (Bach and García Abril @garciaabrilanton), was artist in residence at Radio France @philharrf, toured the world with solo recitals, played chamber music and a wide range of concertos, performed on four continents, and completed two rounds of #100daysofpractice. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s been intense, busy, and really, really fulfilling. I’m ready to step back and take it all in, sleep, get into a routine, spend time with people I haven’t been around lately, and rediscover myself. Maybe I’ll knit a sweater. Who knows. People have asked me what I’ve planned for this coming year. I have no plans! The best way for me to find out what this sabbatical is meant to be is to start it and see where it wants to take me. I didn’t do anything particularly adventurous on my last one, six months in 2009, but none of it was what I’d predicted beforehand. Yet it was life changing. For this sabbatical, I’ve declined all outward facing work, but I have prepared some materials to post from time to time if I check in. And I’ve got a full, exciting season planned for 2020-21, so I’ll definitely see you then. To all of you out there, you are phenomenal fans. I am grateful for you.

A post shared by Hilary Hahn (@violincase) on


  • Classical Music Whisperer says:

    Good for her! Family first!

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Did she ever perform with Sir Colin Davis?

    • Scott says:

      Yes. I heard her do the Elgar with him and the NY Phil.

    • Robert Roy says:

      Yes – the Elgar Concerto at the Barbican. Maybe 10 years ago? She also recorded both the Elgar and V.W’s Lark Ascending with Davis and the LSO. Alas, although the Elgar was technically superb, it rather lacked in character. I don’t recall the cd getting particularly good reviews.

      It’s available very cheaply so maybe judge for yourself.

  • Chris says:

    What a sensible thing to do, especially since she is young enough to be able (should she so wish after having a year of ‘freedom’) to resume her already extremely fine playing career. Enjoy it young lady!

    • Enquiring Mind says:

      Doesn’t anyone read the story? She said she has “a full, exciting season planned for 2020-21”.

      • Marg says:

        I think you were the one who didnt read it carefully Her sabbatical is one year from 1 Sept 2019 to 31 Aug 2020. Her ‘full and exciting season’ will be from 1Sept 2020 into 2021.

        • M2N2K says:

          Which is precisely what “enquiring mind” wrote, making YOU the one whose reading comprehension needs lots of improvement.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    A very grounded woman, by the sound of it. Good luck to her!

  • Laraine Lippe says:

    That’s terrific. You have much courage and I am sure it will be rewarded with increased energy and inspiration. Have a wonderful year….and I look forward to seeing and listening to you once again next year! I love your concerts and am inspired by your playing and courage!

  • Saxon Broken says:

    Given the sheer grind of touring for a concert soloist, I am surprised more don’t take time out. I think most soloists would benefit from having a few months off every year to recharge.