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Hilary Hahn’s enquiring mind wants to know

Hilary Hahn doesn’t need much introduction; as one of the leading violinists today, many of you have any number of her recordings or have been lucky enough to catch her in concert.

Usually we put our stars up on some pedestal, always with that remove of the stage between us. But Hilary herself has a different idea of what a star should be up to in between wowing folks at those concerts. She happens to love to talk to people, especially other musicians, and is genuinely interested in what makes them tick. And she loves to share what she hears with us, often using her own trusty laptop to record her interviews. As she says: “Through interviewing, I find out things about people which would never come up in casual conversation: how they work, what their creative processes are, how they view their artistic output, what they value in their professions, and so on. To me, those topics are fascinating.”

Hilary was especially interested in doing a whole series of interviews with contemporary composers; since that’s what s21’s all about we thought “why not hook up?” So here’s the deal: each month Hilary will be visiting with a different composer, posting the interview to her YouTube channel.  We’ll let you know as soon as each goes up, give you the first part here and guide you to the place to view the rest. We’re really happy to work with Hilary, and to bring a bit of “real people” to the sometimes too-serious perception of our “art”.

First up, Hilary paid a visit to Judd Greenstein, a composer who’s not only been getting a lot of acclaim for his music, but is also one of the founding forces behind the exciting, young and extremely buzz-worthy New Amsterdam recording label. Hilary and Judd discuss self-presenting, artist-driven labels and the indie classical scene:


For the rest just head on over to Hilary’s YouTube channel.


Comment from Corey Dargel
Time: July 2, 2009, 12:45 pm

This is great! Looking forward to more…

Comment from jccombs
Time: July 2, 2009, 9:38 pm

Hilary Hahn is beautiful. I don’t know how these guys are getting through the interview, but they’re obviously blushing!

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: July 3, 2009, 11:29 am

Seeing as Corey’s dropping by, and speaking of interviews, I think it’s only fair to mention that Cornelius Dufallo is kicking off his own series of composer interviews — with none other than the illustrious Mr. Dargel himself!:

It’s open season on composers, folks. Come and get us!

Comment from Richard Mitnick
Time: July 3, 2009, 3:23 pm

New Amsterdam:

Check out the genre attributed to Nadia Sirotas work on First things First- Alternative Rock. I don’t think so. They claimed it was not their call. Egad!!

Hilary Hahn:

I used to record streaming audio of Classical music from various PubRadio outlets across the USA. I have since gone legit and gotten rid of that stuff, all except one: Jim Svejda on air for KUSC and the no longer extant and not lamented C.P.R.N. “aired” the Barber Violin Concerto with Ms Hahn as the soloist with Hugh Wolf’s St Paul Chamber Orchestra. After the piece ended, Mr. Svedjda says, “…ah, ya big show off ya, well, if she’s got that much to show off, show it off by all means…,” Jim’s version of “You Go, Girl”.

Comment from Andrew Rudin
Time: July 5, 2009, 3:26 pm

Jim Svejda…. what a jerk! Hate his voice. hate his opinions. (And what’s with the difference between the spelling and the pronunciation of his name?)

Comment from Richard Mitnick
Time: July 6, 2009, 12:25 pm


I am not far behind you on Jim Svejda. But I think he is right about Hilary Hahn. If you have heard Jim, what do you think of the rest of KUSC?


Comment from Samantha
Time: December 19, 2009, 2:45 am

I think it’s people like Jim which keep people away from classical music. He’s an elitist, especially that voice of his. I mean, he’s probably a nice guy, but I don’t listen to KUSC when he’s on because he’s such a sophisto!
So when a casual listener decides to stop on KUSC and they hear a nice piece end, want to hear more, then Jim’s voice comes in, “This is Jim Svejda and you were just listening to … hehehe. You know, when (Insert obscure composer) wrote this, he thought it would be funny to not add an Am note…hehehe…” and that casual listener might just get put off.