Hilary Hahn and Hauschka: Silfra

Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm, Aria

With a flawless technique and a knack for razor-sharp performance, the prodigiously talented American violinist Hilary Hahn is known for her probing interpretations, technical brilliance and commitment to new music. Hauschka is the alias of classically-trained German pianist-composer Volker Bertelmann, whose work as Hauschka is based upon a playful exploration of the ‘prepared’ piano. Like Hahn, Hauschka is no stranger to collaboration, whether with formal outfits or acclaimed bands like Calexico and múm.

About Silfra
Silfra is the impressive result of a musical collaboration that developed gradually and organically. American violinist Hilary Hahn and German pianist Hauschka were introduced by the American folk musician Tom Brosseau. Hauschka performed with Brosseau and the Magik*Magik Orchestra, and Hahn joined them for the last, improvised piece. An idea was born. The idea was to find a form of collaboration that would allow them to venture into new musical terrain but still preserve their singular virtuosity. There was to be no specific objective; however, the project was centred on exploration and experimentation. 
Through improvisation they discovered more about their respective musical approaches while defining a shared musical language. When they were in different parts of the world they would send each other music files and then improvise on these pieces or layer them with additional sound tracks. For Hauschka, who prepares the strings of his piano with small pieces of metal, clips or different kinds of foils to create new sounds and modify the dynamics of the instrument, improvisation is a crucial element in his everyday life as a performer. And for Hahn, too, improvising is a way of adding new dimensions to her interpretations of composed works.
Hauschka and Hahn first began talking about going into the recording studio early in 2011. Here, too, the process itself was the goal. They told no one of their plans, neither their colleagues nor their record companies, in the hope of keeping external pressures from influencing the outcome of their collaboration. Hahn and Hauschka met at the prestigious Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik, Iceland, in late spring, arriving with no scores, ignoring pieces they had already developed, aiming to create new works entirely through improvisation. learn more at hahnandhauschka.com

[Silfra is] a mesmerizing flux of density and perspective. – The New York Times
Co-presented with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series