Peabody Johns Hopkins University Magazine

Hilary Hahn Headlines Commencement

Hilary Hahn Headlines Commencement

Hillary Hahn at Peabody Commencement

Internationally renowned violinist Hilary Hahn, who began her violin studies as a child at the Peabody Preparatory, returned to Peabody as this year’s commencement speaker on May 23 in Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall.

“In my mind, I’m still an 8-year-old Prep kid,” she told the crowd assembled for the Conservatory’s 135th graduation exercises, where one Performer’s Certificate, 86 Bachelor of Music degrees, 106 Master of Music degrees, 11 Master of Arts degrees, 22 Graduate Performance Diplomas, two Artist Diplomas, and 9 Doctor of Musical Arts degrees were conferred.

“Music is and should be very much about serving others,” Hahn went on to say. “We do our best for the composer, for the audience, for education. We donate our time, share our love for our art, and we try to create things of beauty for other people. This, in turn, often gives us happiness.”

Piano faculty member Alexander Shtarkman, who has been on the Conservatory faculty since 2002, was awarded the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award.

“I am rewarded with my dear, wonderful, talented, motivated, curious, tirelessly working students,” he said in accepting the award. “We learn together and from each other. And I’m grateful to you for all the music we’ve studied, all the discoveries we’ve made, all the ideas we’ve conceived.” He said his teachers taught him everything: “the fundamentals of our profession and secrets of our craft but more importantly they taught me that what we do is larger than a profession or a craft. It is larger than life.”

Between speeches were performances by Peabody graduates and students including Marquee Brass performing both Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance and Robert Martin’s Mercia Brass Quintet No. 7, “Arrival of the King.” Graduating students performed works by Benjamin Godard and Franz Liszt.

In his commencement remarks, Dean Bronstein updated the audience on the strides made under the Breakthrough Plan in the areas of community engagement, Music and Medicine, new programs, and diversity. “We build on our tradition of excellence but understand that we must be in and of the community: the university community, the civic life of Baltimore, and the international community,” he said. “We have a major role to play, and with all its accomplishments of the last 160 years, I am sure that Peabody’s best days are ahead, and yours as graduates and the future of our art form are as well.”

— Margaret Bell