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Violinist plays social media with precision

Published September 16, 2010 2:14 pm

Technology • Hilary Hahn uses tools of her generation to talk to young music fans.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

At age 30, violinist Hilary Hahn is already a performance veteran with nearly two decades of experience. She's also a product of her generation, which grew up in the Internet age, and she's a proficient user of technology.

While orchestra administrators everywhere are wringing their hands over how to interest young listeners in classical music, Hahn is doing it by speaking their language. Little wonder that she has thousands of young fans who interact with her via technology.

It all started 14 years ago with snail-mail postcards that the 16-year-old Hahn sent to an elementary-school class in upstate New York when she was a globe-trotting teenage concert artist. That evolved into a digital journal that she continues to update with information about where she is, what she's playing, whom she's meeting and what she's thinking.

"I like having an outlet for my writing," Hahn said. "And it's a resource for young musicians and concertgoers who are curious about the life of a musician."

Facebook, MySpace and an interactive website that lets fans upload comments and original art grew out of the journal project — none of that's unusual among younger artists. But Hahn also has a Twitter account written from the point of view of her violin case.

She has taken her fascination with technology and journalism a step further through video interviews with conductors, chamber artists and orchestra section leaders. The footage is uploaded to her YouTube channel, which also features performance snippets.

"What people say in interviews is very different from how they speak in conversation," she said. "I just enjoy learning about my colleagues."

Hahn's digital presence might be evidence of savvy marketing. But it's also a natural way for someone her age to connect with her fans, and a good way for aspiring musicians to find inspiration.

features@sltrib.com —

Visit Hilary Hahn on the Internet






Calling young musicians: Have you been inspired by Hilary Hahn's use of technology? If so, post a comment on this story or e-mail us at features@sltrib.com.






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