I’ve praised virtuoso violinist Hilary Hahn here before, but in this post I want to applaud her for another great artistic skill: her writing.
Hahn keeps a journal on her website, where she blogs about touring and concerts, the classical music industry, travel, and some odd and obscure observations about the minute details of life she sees from her unique vantage point.
She is a very excellent writer. I always enjoy checking out her little essays when I get a chance; my only complaint is that she doesn’t write more often (I’ve often been disappointed to see months at a time lag by without new material). Her prose is a whimsical joy, her buoyant focus with the keyboard as evident as it is with string instruments. Truly, talents tend to cluster, and Hahn is generously blessed with gifts in at least these two arts.
Consider this excerpt from an August post:
I got a little carried away, I suppose, because I didn’t notice the microphone suspended overhead until the tip of my bow halted as if I had hit a wall. I knew immediately what had happened; I practically leaped back, shocked both at the bow suddenly jamming into my hand and at the crack that I heard from the speakers beyond the stage.
The next morning, in the paper, the review mentioned the airborne flock with the equivalent of a literary wink but griped that the burst of fireworks heard from across the park during my opening solo might have been better saved for another day.
Or this snippet from an entry earlier in the summer:
Soon the boy’s father and brother emerged from the vicinity of the buffet. They started eating. The father kept looking at me in that double-take way, as if he alone perceived that I was about to do something like climb onto my table, open my mouth, and begin to belt out Broadway show tunes, and as if he must therefore be prepared to jump from his seat to stop me as soon as I made my move.
Hilary, if you’re reading this, here’s a simple request from a humble fan of yours on two fronts (as a musician and as a writer): should you ever want to take a sabbatical from your demanding schedule as a performer, please, please consider doing more writing. If you ever write a book, this English teacher would be first in line to get a copy.