Appreciate classical musicians’ personal side


Peter Pu

This concert at the Chicago Symphony Center took place on Dec. 9. Hilary Hahn plays Dvorak’s violin concerto in A minor.

Peter Pu, Editor-In-Chief

Classical music fans know Hilary Hahn not only as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s artist in residence but also a frequent star on TwoSet violin, a popular YouTube channel run by violinists Brett Yang and Eddy Chen. 

Seeing that I was drawn to Hahn’s performance of Dvorak’s violin concerto on Dec. 9 as initially only a TwoSet fan, classical musicians should bring out their personalities beyond their stage performances to attract a broader audience. 

It was not Hahn’s world-class recordings but by her performance of “Paganini 24” while hula-hooping and “Der Erklonig” with swapped hands that made me want to see her play in person. While classical performances tend to champion perfect technique and musicality, these challenges are fun simply because we see a rare instance of imperfection in the hands of a soloist the caliber of Hahn. As a listener, it becomes even possible to relate with her under a common passion for music and the stories she shares along the way. 

As audiences we appreciate the music just as much as we appreciate the musicians themselves, so soloists like Hahn should take opportunities to show their personal side.