“This violinist, now among the best in the world as well as the most thoughtful, is as brilliant at Bach as Birtwistle…” – The Observer, August 2014

“The British violinist has a big, rich sound and a big, enquiring spirit.” – Los Angeles Times

Daniel Hope - Biography

It was probably inevitable that Daniel Hope should make the violin his life. He started studying it aged four, and his journey to those first lessons is a story in itself. He was born in Durban, South Africa in 1973. When he was six months old, his father, the distinguished novelist, poet and anti-apartheid activist Christopher Hope, was finally granted an exit visa on condition he never return. The family went first to Paris, then to London, where Hope’s mother Eleanor was engaged by the celebrated violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin to be his secretary, later becoming his long-time manager.

As a child, Hope used to play with Menuhin’s grandchildren and, in 1978, took up violin lessons with a neighbour, Sheila Nelson, a renowned teacher who had a special gift for
teaching children. Six years later, Daniel entered London’s Royal College of Music, where he was tutored by Russian masters Itzhak Rashkovsky, Felix Andrievsky and Grigory Zhislin. He finished his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, where he worked with Zakhar
Bron (1992–98).

On those solid foundations, Daniel Hope began to build an impressive career, ultimately appearing all over the globe with the world’s most renowned orchestras and conductors and winning numerous prizes for his recordings, including six ECHO Awards, a Classical Brit Award, the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis and numerous Grammy® nominations.

Back in 1985 he had been invited by Menuhin to join him in a programme of Bartók duos for German television. This launched a long association between the two violinists that would eventually take in more than 60 concerts, and in 1999 Hope performed a Schnittke Concerto in Düsseldorf as part of what was to be Menuhin’s final concert. 

In 1996 he gave the world premiere of Douglas Jarman’s critical edition of the Berg Violin Concerto and worked with Toru Takemitsu, later recording his violin concerto Nostalghia. In 2000 he played and conducted before an audience of 20,000 on Munich’s Königsplatz, while in 2001 he was voted “Classical Performer of the Year” by London’s Evening Standard. The following year he became the youngest-ever member of the legendary Beaux Arts Trio, with whom he gave 400 concerts until the Trio ended in 2008. He also gave the premiere of Jan Müller-Wieland’s violin concerto Ballad of Ariel in Berlin, one of more than 30 works he has commissioned from composers. 

In 2003 Daniel Hope gave the world premiere of Schnittke’s newly discovered Sonata 1955 in London. A year later he was named “Young Artist of the Year” at the Classical Brit Awards and began his relationship with the Savannah Music Festival as Artist-in-Residence; the festival formally appointed him Associate Artistic Director in 2004, a position he still holds today. In 2005 he premiered Abraham, the concerto composed for him by Roxanna Panufnik; presented the US premiere of his East Meets West programme with Indian sitar master Gaurav Mazumdar at Savannah; and gave a concert at Dachau to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp. 

In July 2014 he gave the world premiere of Gabriel Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto 1914 at the BBC Proms (“Hope impressed by playing atrociously difficult music from memory” – The Guardian), as well as appearing at the Bristol Proms, the ground-breaking concert series at the Bristol Old Vic. 

Hope tours extensively, performing a hugely varied repertoire and working with chamber partners as diverse as Menahem Pressler, Jeffrey Kahane, Leif Ove Andsnes and Anne Sofie von Otter. He has collaborated for more than 15 years with distinguished actor Klaus Maria Brandauer on projects exploring the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Someone had to do something), music and war (War and Pieces) and the life and work of Goethe (Mephisto), as well as in Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat. He has appeared at the world’s top festivals, and his 2014 tour dates cover Europe, Canada, the USA, China, Japan and South Korea.

Despite his busy life, Hope also finds time to write and is an enthusiastic video blogger and broadcaster. His books include the autobiographical Familienstücke. Eine Spurensuche; Toi, toi, toi!, a book about concert mishaps; and Wann darf ich klatschen (When do I applaud?), all making the bestseller lists in Germany.

In 2007 Daniel Hope signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, his debut recording of works by Mendelssohn including the original version of the Violin Concerto was selected as one of the CDs of the Year by the New York Times. That same year he also participated in Anne Sofie von Otter’s album of music written by Jewish composers imprisoned in the Terezín concentration camp, while his live performances of Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo, and of Tippett’s Triple Concerto at the BBC Proms were made available for download within the DG Concerts series. Among his recent releases are collaborations with Neo-classical composer Max Richter, including a remix of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons which also features on an iPad Masterwork app. Hope co-produced a film documentary about Terezín called Refuge in Music, released by Deutsche Grammophon on DVD in 2013.

Throughout his career, Hope has fearlessly broken through barriers and embraced the wilder fringes of musical experience with rewarding results, as demonstrated in such releases as
the modernist Spheres, Max Richter’s Berlin by Overnight, and his latest album Escape to Paradise – The Hollywood Album, featuring guest appearances by Sting and Max Raabe.

Hope plays the 1742 “ex-Lipiński” Guarneri del Gesů, placed generously at his disposal by an anonymous family from Germany. Mr. Hope lives in Vienna.