STORIES

Anecdotes from my travels, from various countries and concert seasons. There's a surprise every single day on the road. If I could capture each in writing, I would.


Tea

I have taken to drinking tea on airplanes. On my last flight today, from Munich to Muenster, in a puddle jumper with big overhead compartments, turbulence struck right as the attendant was reaching for the pitcher. Everyone instinctively sipped from the drinks they already had, so they wouldn’t spill on the next sudden drop. The (read more…)


Chitchat

I was recognized in the supermarket. I was standing next to a shelf of tea. A girl I’d spotted in another part of the store turned to me and asked, “Are you Hilary Hahn?” Well, yes. I was sure I’d seen her before, had met her somewhere, but she didn’t have the same impression. I (read more…)


Anecdote Musikverein

One day around noon, I was at the Musikverein in Vienna, practicing in one of the many dressing rooms in the building. A friend had set up a camera to film my technique for my own study purposes. We had started recording, my friend had stepped out, and I was expecting him back in the (read more…)


Anecdote Musikverein

One day around noon, I was at the Musikverein in Vienna, practicing in one of the many dressing rooms in the building. A friend had set up a camera to film my technique for my own study purposes. We had started recording, my friend had stepped out, and I was expecting him back in the (read more…)


Anecdote with Paste

I don’t enjoy chatting people up on airplanes. That is my time to read, to rest, to tune out, and to be unreachable. I try, in turn, to leave my seatmates alone, to extend to them the same courtesy of privacy and quiet. On one trip, though, I glanced past my neighbor to see what (read more…)


Anecdote with Microphone

Classical concert halls are pretty much all acoustic, which is why audience members can be sticklers for complete quiet. Some outdoor orchestral venues, on the other hand – especially the ones with big lawns – use microphones and speakers to create the same sound at a distance that one would hear onstage. If that were (read more…)


Anecdote with Magazine

Flying from Rio de Janeiro to Montevideo, I was reading a very engrossing book when someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was a flight attendant, sticking a folded-over magazine right in my face. “Is this you?” he asked, his voice lofty atop his official sweater vest and navy pants. His finger tapped a familiar (read more…)


Anecdote with Orange Juice

I was standing in line at a restaurant in South America, minding my own business, when a man – curly-haired, middle-aged, and athletic, with antsy eyes – next to me exclaimed loudly, “This is the hot food section!” I was inclined to respond, “Why, yes, that’s why I’m here,” but in the split second between (read more…)


Anecdote with Cookie

Not sure of what my food situation would be on my first trip to South America, I packed various items in my luggage before leaving the States. Rice cakes, canned tuna, etc. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. A few days into the trip, digging in my suitcase for socks, I discovered two (read more…)


Mr. Snippy

On a flight back to the States in June of 2009: When I arrived in the cabin, my seat neighbor was already settled in. We exchanged nods; he seemed nice enough. Once I was seated, though, he picked up his phone, made a call, and proceeded to complain incessantly and vehemently to the person on (read more…)


Mr. Schoenberg Hits the Tube

After a concert in the spring of 2008, a group of girls came up to me with an art card they’d created. It read, “Hilary Hahn Sleepover!” and was covered with all sorts of birthday references. Turns out my concert was part of a bigger event; all the kids had attended to start off the (read more…)


Hanna

Life on the road may be different from what it seems to those at home. True, one sees things with one’s own eyes that would otherwise only be caught on TV: soccer riots, political conventions, airport security breaches, strange weather, celebrities, flower festivals, strikes, protests, exhibitions, and parades. One also gets caught in things that (read more…)