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Sunday, April 05, 2015

Violinist Hilary Hahn Remembers Her Earliest Influences

"Violinist Hilary Hahn is known for putting together some unusual programs. On her latest album, she pairs Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major with 19th century Belgian composer Henri Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto No. 4 in D minor." writes

Violinist Hilary Hahn 
Photo: KSMU Radio

It's a tribute to two of her earliest influences, as she learned to play both as a child. She learned the Vieuxtemps from Klara Berkovich, with whom she started studying at the age of 5, and the Mozart from Jascha Brodsky, who became her teacher when she entered the Curtis School of Music at 10.

Now 35, the internationally celebrated soloist and her childhood teacher, the Odessa-born Berkovich, joined NPR's Arun Rath to talk about music, their relationship and what they learned from each other.

Among other lessons, Hahn remembers learning that technique should help the music; it should never be just about the technique.

"The technique," Berkovich interjects, "is just the instrument for expression."

Berkovich, who came from the Soviet Union to teach music in Baltimore in the 1970s, had already been teaching for 30 years before Hahn began studying with her. But she says she learned even more about what children can achieve when she worked with Hahn.

All these years after their first lessons together, Berkovich is pleased with her student and the part she played in her success. "I'm very proud I was a part of your development," she tells Hahn. "She is now a great artist."

Hahn, for her part, feels the teaching is never exactly over. "I still have a lot to learn from Mrs. Berkovich," she says. "About music and about life." 

Source: KSMU Radio

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