Tuesday, February 10, 2015

“The Pancake Soup” Prodigy

My junior year of high school, an Austrian exchange student visited, and while it was not uncommon to have exchange students, it was uncommon to have one join the band. Patrick H. Hahn wasn’t just any exchange student, in his spare time, he liked to compose music and he is very good at it. In my high school band, he played percussion as well as piano, whenever it was needed.

About halfway through the year, Patrick informed our band director that he had composed a piece for our ensemble. Upon hearing this, I assumed it would be a short piece with a few instruments, but I was wrong. He composed a piece that was about ten minutes long and was completely unique, including all sections in the band. Soon, the band received copies of his piece because our band director wanted to play it in our concert. The piece commemorated his time in the United States and is aptly named, “Ameraustrica”, with the world premiere occurring at Eastview High School.

(The World Premiere of “Ameraustrica,” Hahn is conducting)

What is most amazing about this is that Patrick Hahn was 16 years old at the time of the world premiere. He was born in 1995 and has been involved in music ever since birth. At the age of 11, he began studying piano at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria. From there, at the age of 12, he composed an opera called “Die Frittatensuppe” (“The Pancake Soup”) that he conducted with a 30-member professional orchestra.

(The World Premiere of “Die Frittatensuppe”)

Today, Patrick conducts numerous ensembles, writes commissioned works, holds rehearsals, and gives concerts. The piece that he wrote for my high school went on to win 2nd prize, out of 170 submissions worldwide, at the 2013 Penfield Music Commission Project Contest in New York. Additionally, “Ameraustrica” was a compulsory piece for the competitive concert season for Austrian Wind Bands in the 2013/2014 season, chosen by the Austrian Wind Band Association. Patrick Hahn currently studies Orchestral Conducting and Piano at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz in Austria.
Creating Minds, by Howard Gardner highlights many essential creative minds in the early 20th century and I can’t help but compare Patrick Hahn to Stravinsky, whom Gardner features as an exemplary creative. Gardner’s description of Stravinsky includes the detail that music was not a huge part of his family, which is similar to Hahn’s childhood, and despite this fact, both composers ended up in the music industry. Stravinsky even went outside of his father’s wishes because his dad wanted him to become a lawyer (Gardner 177). However, one major difference between the two is that Stravinsky was no child prodigy, while Hahn appears to be one.

According to Andreasen’s article “Secrets of the Creative Brain,” creative people are usually very persistent, even when they are confronted with skepticism (Andreasen 20). Despite the fact that Hahn was only 12 when he composed an hour-long opera, he continued to persevere and ended up conducting the piece in front of professional musicians. While Andreasen wonders whether creative people have more ideas or just more quality ideas, it seems to me that Patrick H Hahn has both (Andreasen 20). He continues to compose in a variety of musical genres, even composing pieces for concert choirs, which is especially important because his career is only beginning.

Patrick Hahn definitely appears to be on his way to becoming “Big C” creative because the pieces that he composes are no small feat. Furthermore, even as his career is just beginning, he has shown ample promise in the music world. Kaufman and Beghetto differentiate between different types of creativity in their article “Beyond Big and Little: The Four C Model of Creativity” and highlight that “Big C” creativity involves “eminent creative contributions” which Hahn has shown definite promise for, and continues to contribute to the music industry (Kaufman and Beghetto 2).

While Patrick Hahn’s music career is just beginning, he has already accomplished a lot for his age. The fact that he started composing at such a young age demonstrates his commitment to his future career, leading me to conclude that Hahn is definitely a composer that you should keep your eye on.


Gardner, Howard. Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. New York: Basic, 1993. Print.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! It is really interesting to hear about Patrick and his time at your high school, and amazing what he has gone on to do so far. It sounds like working with him would have been an incredible experience, and I think that it's really cool that he is someone that you remember and view in this way. The piece that you shared is really impressive, especially when considering that he wrote it at such a young age, and his is definitely a name I would be interested in looking up in the future.


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