The violinist Hilary Hahn provided the biggest talking point at this year’s GRAMMY Awards for classical music, not just for her performance but for the concept that inspired her recording – a one-woman quest to bring new life to the encore. A proud Deutsche Grammophon was quick to announce the win:
“Hilary Hahn won her 3rd GRAMMY at the 57th GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, 8 February, Her critically acclaimed Deutsche Grammophon album, In 27 Pieces – the Hilary Hahn Encores, was judged by the Recording Academy to be outstanding among a strong field of contenders for “Best Chamber Music/ Small Ensemble Performance”. The album features 27 short contemporary compositions, commissioned by Hilary Hahn to bring fresh life to the violin encore tradition.
Sometimes when you have a crazy idea, it’s worth making it happen,” said Hahn in her GRAMMY acceptance speech.”
The “crazy idea” has taken a while to be realised. It was in 2013 that Hahn talked to the BBC’s Clemency Burton-Hill about her project. As a violinist she had noticed a lack of exciting works by contemporary composers to dazzle audiences at the end of concerts – and set out to do something about it. The result was no less than 27 pieces – the shortest, at just on two minutes, Hilary’s Hoedown by Mark-Anthony Turnage, the longest (6.01) Franghiz Ali-Zadeh’s Impulse.
As Burton-Hill tells it: “‘Exhilarating and admittedly a little nuts’ is how 33-year-old American violinist Hilary Hahn describes her project In 27 Pieces, an ambitious series of encores she conceived over a decade ago, which this week comes to its own grand finale. A glittering miscellany of short works for violin and piano – the sort of the witty, often dazzling pieces a virtuoso violinist might play at the end of a concert if an enthusiastic audience calls for it – the pieces were commissioned and curated by Hahn in what she calls a very personal undertaking”.
For more information about the CD go to Deutsche Grammophon.
For a full list of the GRAMMY Award winners (Classical) visit our colleagues at Sounds Like Sydney.