The South African-born English violinist, Daniel Hope, is the son of the poet and novelist Christopher Hope. He was persecuted in South Africa for his anti-government views, so the family fled to England when Daniel was six months old. His mother, Eleanor, got a job as secretary to Yehudi Menuhin. Daniel became a playmate of Yehudi Menuhin's grandchildren, and although the old master was not a significant figure in the boy's life, he did inspire Daniel to take up the violin under the supervision of neighbor Sheila Nelson, one of England's top violin teachers to children. When Hope was only 11, he was invited by Yehudi Menuhin to play Béla Bartók duos with him on German television. Hope went on to study with several Russian instructors at the Royal College of Music in London, then traveled to Hamburg to study from 1992 to 1998 with another distinguished Russian pedagogue, Zakhar Bron. He also took degrees from the Royal Academy of Music in London. Hope’s long artistic partnership with Yehudi Menuhin consisted of over 60 concerts together, including Lord Yehudi Menuhin’s final appearance in 1999, in which he conducted Hope’s performance of Alfred Schnittke’s Violin Concerto.
Daniel Hope's career began to take off in his mid-twenties, and in 2002 he was recruited on one week's notice to perform on tour with the Beaux Arts Trio. Almost immediately he was accepted, being the youngest-ever member of the Beaux Arts Trio during its final six seasons. Described in his publicity materials as "the British violinist," as if he were the only one, Hope is at least the most versatile British violinist of the early 21st century. He has toured the world as a virtuoso soloist for many years and is celebrated for his musical versatility and creativity - as well as his dedication to humanitarian causes. Hope appears as soloist with the world’s major orchestras and conductors, directs many ensembles from the violin, and plays chamber music in a wide variety of traditional and new venues. Called “adventurous and brilliant” by the New York Times, Hope was also hailed by the London Observer as “the most exciting British string player since Jacqueline du Pré.” A recent New York Times review summarized him as “a violinist of probing intellect and commanding style,” and noted: “In a business that likes tidy boxes drawn around its commodities, the British violinist Daniel Hope resists categorization. Hope, a compelling performer whose work involves standard repertory, new music, raga, and jazz, emphasizes thoughtful engagement over flamboyant display. In his most personal undertakings, he puts classical works within a broader context - not just among other styles and genres but amid history, literature, and drama – to emphasize music’s role as a mirror for struggle and aspiration.”
Daniel Hope has appeared at the world’s most important festivals, such as the BBC Proms and the Lucerne, Hollywood Bowl, Aspen, Ravinia, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Tanglewood festivals. He has played in all the world’s most prestigious venues and with the greatest orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestraas well as the major orchestras of Berliner Philharmoniker, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London, Moscow, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Vienna. Over the years, Hope has worked with such conductors as Hans Graf, Daniel Harding, Thomas Hengelbrock, Kurt Masur, Kent Nagano, Roger Norrington, Sakari Oramo, Michel Plasson, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, and Christian Thielemann. Instrumental collaborators include Sting, Thomas Adès, Yuri Bashmet, Edgar Meyer, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Jeffrey Kahane, David Finkel, Wu Han, Lynn Harrell, Jaime Laredo, Sebastian Knauer, Katia & Marielle Labèque, Mark Padmore, Menahem Pressler, and Tabea Zimmermann. Hope regularly directs chamber orchestras from the violin, performing with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Camerata Salzburg, Lucerne Festival Strings, L’Arte del Mondo, and others. He has also performed L.v. Beethoven and Robert Schumann with the period-instrument ensemble Concerto Köln.
As a student in Hamburg, Daniel Hope developed a friendship with composer Alfred Schnittke (in 2003 he was entrusted with the premiere of the composer's recently discovered violin sonata from 1955), and would soon devote himself largely though never exclusively to the music of Schnittke and other living composers. Hope has enjoyed close contact with composers such as HK Gruber, György Kurtág, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, and Mark-Anthony Turnage. He has commissioned works from the likes of Jan Müller-Wieland, Huw Watkins, and Roxanna Panufnik. As a permanent member of the Beaux Arts Trio, he worked to spice up the group's fairly conservative repertoire with commissioned works by such composers as György Kurtág and Mark-Anthony Turnage to celebrate the trio's 50th anniversary. Hope’s 2013 DG album, “Spheres”, featured the world premiere recording of four works written for Hope. In 2008, Hope and Stewart Copeland, the former drummer of The Police, premiered Copeland’s Celeste for violin and percussion at the Savannah Festival. Hope also gave the world premiere performance and recording of the critically-revised Violin Concerto by Alban Berg. A Sunday Telegraph reviewer wrote of the CD: “I do not think I have ever heard a finer account of the Berg than Daniel Hope gives here, not only played to technical perfection but with its poignant emotional content realized to the full.”
During the 2012-2013 season, audiences were treated to a European concert tour focused on his celebrated recording “The Romantic Violinist: A Celebration of Joseph Joachim”; the curatorship of a symposium on music composed at the Theresienstadt concentration camp; and the world premiere of Nico Muhly's Compare Notes at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Other highlights were the Japanese premiere of Birtwistle's Violin Concerto with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra led by Stefan Asbury; a performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 at the BBC Proms; and Hope’s final summer as Artistic Director of Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, which hosted 125 concerts in over 80 venues.
Daniel Hope begins the 2013-2014 season with concerts Europe and Asia, all with long-term collaborator Sebastian Knauer.and focusing on his recent Deutsche Grammophon release of Max Richter's “Vivaldi Recomposed”. On November 9, Hope commemorates the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht with a special “Tu Was” (“Do Something”) concert at the Paul Löbe Haus in Berlin. In December he celebrates the 90th birthday of legendary pianist Menahem Pressler, with whom Hope collaborated during his tenure in the Beaux Arts Trio, at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Throughout the season, Hope performs with several leading orchestras, including Zürcher Kammerorchester, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, Kanagawa Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, El-Khoury Museumsorchester, Bergen Philharmonic and Orquesta Nacional de España. Other highlights of the 2013-2014 season include Hope’s February tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra previewing The Hollywood Sound, his upcoming fall 2014 album release on Deutsche Grammophon; his 11th season as Associate Artistic Director Savannah Music Festival in March; and performances with the Lucerne Festival Strings, who recently named Hope Principal Guest Artist.
Daniel Hope recorded for Warner Classics and Nimbus, playing J.S. Bach, Alban Berg, Benjamin Britten, Edward Elgar, Finzi, Foulds, John Ireland, Felix Mendelssohn, Mozart, Penderecki, Schnittke, Dmitri Shostakovich, Tippett, William Walton, and Weill. In 2004 he won three major awards for his recording of the Alban Berg (in its original version) and Benjamin Britten concertos. An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2007, Hope has earned numerous Grammy nominations, a Classical BRIT award, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, and five consecutive ECHO Klassik Prizes. In September 2011, Gramophone declared: "The remarkable British violinist Daniel Hope is a force to be reckoned with." In 2012 Hope released “The Romantic Violinist: A Celebration of Joseph Joachim”. The album celebrates the great 19th-century Austro-Hungarian violin virtuoso, who was a friend and trusted collaborator of Brahms and the first interpreter and dedicatee of works by Bruch and Dvorák. 2013’s “Spheres” considers the idea first proposed by Pythagoras that planetary movement creates its own kind of music. This concept has fascinated philosophers, musicians, and mathematicians for centuries, and Hope offers his own vision, presenting pieces by composers as diverse as J.S. Bach, Gabriel Prokofiev, and Arvo Pärt. Hope’s previous releases on the famed yellow label include “Air. a baroque journey”; “Vivaldi Concertos, Arias, and Sonatas”; “Mendelsohn’s Violin Concerto and Octet for Strings”; and Terezín/Theresienstadt. His interpretation of Ravi Shankar’s compositions on the CD “East Meets West” was hailed worldwide and earned a Grammy nomination.
Daniel Hope also serves as associate artistic director of the eclectic Savannah (Georgia) Music Festival, and since 2010 as Artistic Partner at Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Beyond the concert stage, he has penned three books about his life and about music published in Germany: Familienstücke (Family Album); his best-selling memoir, Wann darf ich klatschen? (When Do I Applaud?); and Toi, Toi, Toi. He has written scripts for collaborative conceptual projects involving music and the spoken word with the Oscar-winning actor Klaus Maria Brandauer, such as “War and Pieces,” “Mozart Unplugged!” and “Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Someone Had to Do Something.” He also wrote “An Audience with Beethoven” for Mia Farrow, and “Forbidden Music,” which presents poetry and music written by prisoners at Theresienstadt. Some of these projects received premieres at the Savannah Music Festival. He has also hosted radio and television programs about music.
Daniel Hope plays the 1742 “ex-Lipiński” Guarneri del Gesù, placed generously at his disposal by an anonymous family from Germany. The instrument carries the name of its owner, the 19th-century Polish violinist Karol Lipiński, who shared the stage with Paganini, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt. In 2004 he married double bassist Annika Pigorsch, a player in the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Amsterdam, the city where Hope has made his home base.