You could be forgiven, passing through the Saturday night frolic of the East Village last night, for failing to realizing that one of the world's great classical violinists was playing one of the basement venues strung like barnacles along Avenue A. After all, it's not every day Hilary Hahn decides to host her CD release party in a bar - in this case, the new club DROM, on Ave A between 5th and 6th streets.
These sort of classical-in-a-bar shows are starting to become close-to- commonplace. Cellist Matt Haimovitz made a name for himself playing venues like the Knitting Factory and CBGB's. Barbes books acts like the Parker String Quartet and Susie Park from the Eroica Trio. And, with venues like DROM and the soon-to-open Le Poisson Rouge, there are now permanent venues in New York dedicated at least part-time to programming classical music.
Hahn went on around 11:30, straight from her sold-out uptown recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She went back and forth between playing solo and accompanying a trio of talented singer-songwriters: Josh Ritter, Gabe Kahane and Tom Brosseau. Kahane gets extra credit, accompanying Hahn from the piano in the slow movement of Sibelius' Violin Concerto.
"She texted me the other day, asking if I could sight-read the Sibelius," Kahane told us. "'Don't worry,' she said. 'I'm not going to make you learn the Schoenberg.'"
Hahn seemed to enjoy the challenge: I'm sure she's played the Sibelius - one of the staples of the violin repertoire - under all sorts of conditions, but never once over the sound of crashing beer bottles.
If you want to try out some cocktails with your classical, DROM will be hosting a show next Sunday night featuring members of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, along with percussionist Svet Stoyanov and toy pianist Phyllis Chen. Tickets $10 at the door. (More pics after the jump.)