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Hilary Hahn
Hilary Hahn

Q: I really enjoyed seeing and hearing Hilary Hahn play on the Tonight Show. What is it like playing on TV before a really big audience? Is it different than playing a concert in a regular auditorium or recital hall? (Aimee Clark, Chesapeake, VA)

A: " When I play for a TV audience, I play for the Studio Audience because I can't see the people who are behind their TVs. I can't feel whether they're into the performance or not, but I can immediately sense a reaction in the room that tells me whether people are involved or not. And if they're involved, and they're drawn in; they're enjoying it. That's inspiring to me. And if I don't feel that kind of reaction, then I try very hard to get that reaction, so I go in maybe a different direction and try something a little more creative then I thought I would do, or try creating something else with my interpretation.

It's kind of disconcerting sometimes when you play for a TV show because you have all these cameras around you; they're moving while you're playing, there's a big distance between you and the audience, so it's not in any sense a normal performing situation. And they usually count you in: so it's not like, okay, put my violin up, tune, start when I'm ready, it's like 5 - 4 - 3 -2 - GO!" (Violinist Hilary Hahn)

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