Violinist Hannah Duncan has been described as an energetic, powerful, and nuanced performer. As a native of Belle Plaine, Iowa, she began her studies in 2004 with John Schultz and graduated (BM) from the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Jessica Lee and Joan Kwuon. In addition to this, she has a minor in acting from the Case Western Reserve University. Currently, Hannah is attending the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University for her master’s degree studying with Kathleen Winkler.
"She is an energetic, powerful, and nuanced performer."
Soloist on nationally syndicated radio show From the Top
As a soloist Hannah has won many competitions, including the 2017 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Concerto Competition, the 2016 Corridor Honors Orchestra Competition, the 2015 Muscatine Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, among others. She has also been featured performing on the nationally syndicated NPR radio show From the Top with renowned pianist Christopher O’Riley. Hannah loves performing for live audiences, and some of her recent engagements soloing with orchestras include the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, Red Cedar Chamber Music, Central Iowa Symphony, Muscatine Symphony Orchestra, Iowa City Community String Orchestra, and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony. She frequently gives violin recitals to benefit different charities, the local communities, and educate or raise awareness to different music programs and medical research foundations. As a side hobby, Hannah also designs and sells her own practice planners on her website www.hmdviolin.com.
ILO Quartet wins in several International Chamber Music Competitions
As an avid chamber musician, she has played in many different chamber ensembles. Most recently she was the first violinist of the ILO Quartet. The quartet won the 2021 Coltman Competition and the 8th Stockholm International Music Competition (2021). ILO was chosen as one of three ensemble Finalists in the 2021 Petrichor International Music Competition and as an alternate finalist in the 2022 Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition. Before the Quartet disbanded, the quartet worked on a project with Iranian composer, Ata Ghavidel who dedicated his piece, Mirror Orchard, to the ILO Quartet. The ILO Quartet formed in 2020 at the Cleveland Institute of Music where they were coached and primarily worked with cellist Si-Yan Darren Li, and violinists Todd Phillips and Philip Setzer. Hannah’s passion for chamber music began when she was the first violinist for the Schultz Strings Quartet (2008-2012). Hannah has continued to play in a variety of chamber music festivals and opportunities to play with chamber music professionals. She has had the privilege and opportunity to take masterclasses and lessons with some of the most prestigious violinist such as Glenn Dicterow, Kathleen Winkler, Carmine Lauri, Regis Pasquier, David Kim, Dmitri Berlinsky, Martin Beaver, and many others.
In addition to being a successful soloist and chamber musician, she is bustling in the orchestral world. Hannah received her first orchestral job at age sixteen with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony where she also served as principal second violinist. During her musical studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, she regularly substituted in the symphonies around the Cleveland area such as the Firelands Symphony and other surrounding symphonies. Most recently, she has earned a position as a substitute violinist with the New World Symphony.
Hannah served as concertmaster and soloist for the 2022-2023 Cleveland Women’s Orchestra season while taking on many other leadership positions in the corridor area and summer festivals. She has been fortunate to attend Music Academy of the West on full scholarship where she won a fellowship with the Keston MAX exchange and performed alongside the London Symphony Orchestra as part of the fellowship. She traveled to London in November of 2022 as part of the residency. Hannah is an alumnus of the New York String Orchestra Seminar, and a two-time member of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA.
She has worked with some of the most acclaimed conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop, Larry Rachleff, Michael Tilson Thomas, Benjamin Zander, JoAnn Faletta, and many more. Through these opportunities she has had the chance to perform in the renowned Carnegie Hall and tour both Southern America and Asia performing in esteemed concert halls. To help further her musical career, Hannah has received substantial scholarships from the Jack Cooke Kent Young Artists Scholarship, the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation, and the William Hymanson Endowed Full Scholarship. Hannah plays on an 1884 N. Audinot, Elve de Vuillame violin and a Louis Morizot Pere bow.