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January 13, 2010

Conan O'Brien scheduled to welcome Hilary Hahn onto embattled 'Tonight Show'

Hilary HahnAssuming Conan O'Brien is still on the job Thursday, one of his scheduled "Tonight Show" guests will be Baltimore's own Hilary Hahn. Maybe she can help soothe emotions on that embattled set.

The exceptional violinist, who recently turned 30 (seems like only yesterday that she was a child prodigy), will be plugging her latest CD.

This recording focuses on vocal works by Bach that include prominent solo violin passages -- "St. Matthew Passion," B Minor Mass, etc. -- and features baritone Matthias Goerne and soprano Christine Schafer, with the Munich Chamber Orchestra (they won't be joining her on the "Tonight Show," as far as I know).

Classical musicians have not been exactly 

plentiful on Conan's guest list (not that other late-night shows are much better in this regard), so Hahn's presence is doubly welcome. Assuming she gets interview time, rather than just performance time, the violinist's engaging, down-to-earth personality is likely to go over very well with the studio and TV audience alike. 

Hahn's looking forward to the appearance. Her publicist quotes her as saying, "As I've grown up on the road, I've spent many post-concert hours watching Conan O'Brien on late-night television. I'm thrilled to perform on his show this week. I can't wait!"

And Hahn's violin case Twittered this message the other day: "Guess what????!!!!! Hilary's going to be on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on January 14! Let's amp up classical-music ratings, folks!" (That Hilary's Tweets are in the voice of her ever-present violin case tells you something about her personal style.)


Posted by Tim Smith at 10:08 AM | | Comments (2)


Just googled to get this young lady's name and found your post. I am playing the Tonight Show on for noise and jerked my head up when I heard the unbelievable sound!

Not only did she play beautifully but her appearance matched the sound!

Thanks for the comments. I wish I had remembered to set the DVR. TIM

Tim, you can watch on Here's the link: and Hilary is just after the second to last tick mark. Wish I knew what that was she was piece!

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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