Among the world's leading violinists, Hilary Hahn emerged in the late 1990s as a prodigy, and in the following decades she received critical praise for her recordings of standard concerto repertoire from Bach to Barber, as well as contemporary works by Edgar Meyer and Jennifer Higdon.
Hahn began playing the violin before her fourth birthday and soon began studies via the Suzuki method. She took lessons from Russian violinist Klara Berkovich from 1984 to 1989, and from 1990, she studied violin at the Curtis Institute under Jascha Brodsky.
Even though she could have graduated at 16, Hahn stayed on at Curtis for additional courses and graduated at 19 in 1999. By then she had made two recordings under her contract for Sony, Hilary Hahn Plays Bach, and an album pairing Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Bernstein's Serenade, both critical and commercial successes.
In 2003, Hahn signed a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and her first album, Bach: Concertos, again was devoted to her favorite composer. She was the violin soloist in James Newton Howard's score for M. Night Shyamalan's 2004 film The Village. In 2005. Hahn branched out into crossover music in a series of concerts with American singer and songwriter Tom Brosseau. Two years later, she appeared in concert in crossover fare once again, this time with Josh Ritter, another popular American artist. Hahn also collaborated with the indie rock group, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. In 2009, she commissioned a concerto from Jennifer Higdon, which earned the composer a Pulitzer Prize in 2010, and the work was released that year on Deutsche Grammophon. In 2012, Hahn released Silfra, an entirely improvised recording with German pianist and composer Hauschka, also known as Volker Bertelmann. Hahn then began her project, In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores, commissioning pieces from a variety of composers to use on tours through the 2012-2013 season.