Interview: Hilary Hahn

By JON GARELICK  |  March 11, 2010

How do you feel about what's been called the "graying" of the classical audience? You seem to have made your own attempts at outreach and audience development.
I don't do projects purely to build audiences. I don't go out and play alternative venues just because I think this will gain an audience. Because I don't really know if it will or not. But since I don't know, I do things that appeal to me that I feel that I'm good at. I like to do signings after concerts; I like to meet the audience. I remember when I was a kid and I would go and meet artists and how helpful that was as a music student. I try to do the stuff on-line with my journal and the YouTube videos I make, and I'm a guest interviewer for the new-music Web site Sequenza21.

But I don't really consider it outreach. It's just me — I want to do this! I'm going to do it anyway. So it's not like I'm making an effort to target anyone. I just figure if I do these things that I enjoy, people who enjoy these things too will find me as an artist, I'll find them, and we'll all be like this group of people moving through this artistic world together. Whatever the case, I think if you just get involved in what you're interested in, then you find an audience.

I notice at my concerts there are a lot of young people, so I don't see the graying effect that people are talking about. Maybe that's because I'm relatively young. But I'm always meeting newcomers at concerts, and music students, teenagers on dates, college kids, people who found a discount ticket and there was nothing else going on that evening that they were interested in and so they're, like, "Well, I want to go out and do something, so I'll do this!" I love that.

Symphonny Hall, 301 Mass Ave, Boston | March 11, 13, and 16 @ 8 pm | March 12 @ 1 pm | $29-$115 | 617.266.1200 or bso.org.

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