Next month, three-time Grammy-winning violinist Hilary Hahn embarks on the first Chicago residency of her two-year tenure as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO)’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence. Marking her first CSO appearances in the new role, she joins the orchestra under Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Principal Conductor of the Vienna Symphony, for three performances of Dvořák’s Violin Concerto (Dec 9–11), a work of special significance to the CSO, which gave its U.S. premiere 130 years ago in October 1891. The December residency also sees Hahn take part in multiple educational activities with local young musicians (Dec 10 & 11) and in a special benefit to support the orchestra’s many programs (Dec 12).
These December events represent the first of Hahn’s three CSO residencies over the present season. After a second residency period in mid-March, she returns again for a spring chamber recital with cellist Seth Parker Woods and pianist Andreas Haefliger in the Symphony Center Presents Chamber Music series (April 1, 2022) and a variety of educational and community engagement activities.
The violinist explains:
“It’s an honor to be the first Artist-in-Residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Chicago has been a special place for me throughout my performing career, and I’m very much looking forward to deepening my relationship with the orchestra, reaching out to local young musicians and music-lovers, and finding new ways to serve the community. Next month’s concerts are the first of many meaningful artistic collaborations we have planned, and I’m excited to work together with Maestro Muti and the orchestra as we continue to build strong musical and community ties over the next two years.”
Hahn has long demonstrated a deep commitment to educational causes, and over the course of her December residency she looks forward to collaborating with the CSO’s Negaunee Music Institute on multiple educational activities. These include a meeting with music students and their instructors at Northside College Prep High School, one of the city’s 653 public schools, and providing both coaching and a Q&A session at Symphony Center to young musicians from the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative (CMPI). Offering training, mentorship and support to young musicians from diverse backgrounds who plan to pursue professional careers in music, CMPI is – together with similar programs in Atlanta, Boston, Nashville and Philadelphia – part of a Mellon Foundation-supported consortium that aims to diversify American orchestras.
To complete her first Chicago residency of the season, on Sunday, December 12, Hahn will take part in “Fall in Love with Music.” A special benefit presented by the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, this will take place at the University Club of Chicago, where she will perform a short solo program. Open to the public, who are invited to attend either virtually or in person, the fundraiser is designed to give CSO patrons the chance to meet the violinist in an informal setting while also supporting the orchestra’s programs.
About Artist-in-Residence Hilary Hahn
One of the foremost violinists of our time, Hilary Hahn was appointed the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s first Artist-in-Residence by Music Director Riccardo Muti. In the newly created role, she will be in Chicago for multiple residencies each season through June 2023. Dedicated to amplifying diverse artistic voices and broadening access to classical music, throughout her two-year appointment she will complement her public performances with a variety of educational and audience engagement initiatives, many of them in collaboration with the CSO’s Negaunee Music Institute. These will include one of her signature “Bring Your Own Baby (BYOB)” concerts; providing a nurturing and welcoming environment for new parents to share their love of live classical music with their infants, the innovative free event will continue the CSO’s ongoing commitment to families with young children.
The residency strengthens Hahn’s ties to Chicago, which are already long standing. She made her first appearances at the city’s Orchestra Hall almost two decades ago, when she played Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto with Riccardo Chailly and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in February 2002. Five years later she made her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut with subscription concert performances of Goldmark’s Violin Concerto. Over the next decade, she returned to Chicago for a number of recitals as part of the Symphony Center Presents Chamber Music series. The second of these featured her world premiere performances of the new works she commissioned for In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores, her Grammy-winning project to revitalize the encore genre. Most recently, in May 2019, she reunited with the CSO under Marin Alsop’s leadership for performances of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, winning praise for her “considerable rhetorical flair, technical bravura and interpretive insight” (Chicago Tribune).
The Artist-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is made possible through a generous gift from James and Brenda Grusecki.