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Today, St. Patrick’s Day, Daniel Hope Celebrates His Irish Roots with New NPR “Tiny Desk” Concert & Celtic Dreams Documentary on PBS TV

Click here to watch Daniel Hope’s St. Patrick’s Day “Tiny Desk” concert.

On St. Patrick’s Day today (Thursday, March 17), Daniel Hope celebrates his Irish roots with two new films. Captured at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, of which he is President, the violinist’s new NPR “Tiny Desk” concert combines Beethoven and Ireland, and ends with an apt but unexpected twist. The video went live online today, which is also when Hope’s new hour-long documentary, Celtic Dreams: Daniel Hope’s Hidden Irish History, first airs on almost 200 PBS TV stations nationwide. To see the Berlin-based violinist live, U.S. audiences must wait till May 12–14, when he gives his next Bay Area tour as Music Director of San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra. Meanwhile, to raise funds for Ukraine relief efforts, Hope has not only performed multiple benefit concerts in Berlin and Dresden but has also just collaborated with Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov to record Music for Ukraine, a new EP due for rush release by Deutsche Grammophon. Small wonder that San Francisco Classical Voice should dub Hope a “master violinist and ‘musical activist’ in perpetual motion,” or go on to confess: “When writing about Daniel Hope, it may be easier to list what he is not doing than to enumerate his activities.” As Gramophone magazine notes, “There are few figures in today’s classical music who so perfectly embody the role of ambassador for music as Daniel Hope.”

St. Patrick’s Day “Tiny Desk” concert at Beethoven-Haus Bonn

Since 2020, which marked the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Hope has served as President of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, the museum and Beethoven research center housed in the composer’s birthplace. The violinist makes his contribution to NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk” series from behind Beethoven’s own tiny desk, at which the composer worked while traveling. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Hope opens his concert with “Danny Boy.” A haunting ballad set to the traditional “Londonderry Air,” this pays tribute to the violinist’s great-grandfather Danny McKenna, to whom he owes his Irish heritage. Joined by Brazilian pianist Sylvia Thereza – “a pianist with the temperament of fire!” (Le soir, France) – Hope follows the folksong with the slow movement from Beethoven’s Sixth Violin Sonata, Op. 30, No. 1, before completing his program with an apropos surprise that combines Beethoven and Ireland.

Celtic Dreams airs on PBS stations nationwide

Hope’s Irish heritage is also the inspiration for Celtic Dreams: Daniel Hope’s Hidden Irish History, a new TV documentary that follows the violinist as he gets behind the wheel of an old Morris Traveler to explore Ireland, Irish music and his own family roots. It was Danny McKenna who left Ireland for South Africa at the beginning of the 20th century, and the trip’s emotional highlight is the violinist’s visit to his great-grandfather’s former hometown of Waterford. Hope says:

“Without this Danny, I might never have discovered the violin for myself. Because only through him were we entitled to an Irish passport when my father had to leave South Africa because of his resistance against the apartheid regime. And it was only thanks to this Irish passport that we were able to settle in London, where my mother found a job with Yehudi Menuhin, the violinist of the century.”

Hope’s other destinations include medieval Kilkenny, where he meets Siobhán Armstrong, the “Queen of the Irish harp”; Galway, where he jams with fiddler Seán Smyth, a multiple award-winning master of Irish folk music and member of the famed Lunása band; and Dublin, where he premieres a piece by the long-forgotten Irish composer Ina Boyle with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. Available on World Channel nationwide since March 11, Celtic Dreams airs on major PBS stations in such key markets as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Miami, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Nashville, Cincinnati, New Orleans and many more, on and around St. Patrick’s Day (check local listings). Click here to watch the trailer for Celtic Dreams.

An artist who uses his platform to engage in many spheres, Hope has twice before ventured into documentary film projects. Terezín – Refuge in Music, which he helped produce, won the 2014 ICMA Prize for “Best Documentary,” and Daniel Hope – The Sound of Life screened in movie theaters across North America, Australia and Europe in 2017.

Music for Ukraine on DG and other relief projects

A prominent ‘musical activist,’ supporting human rights in words and deeds, engaged with and raising funds for Amnesty International and other organizations” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Hope has long used his artistry to serve humanitarian causes, and has been recognized with both the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the 2015 European Cultural Prize for Music. Most recently, in the face of the ongoing Russian invasion, the violinist has turned his attention to relief efforts for Ukraine. At home in Berlin, he has already performed multiple benefit concerts, at venues including the famous Gedächtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church), one of the German capital’s most striking landmarks. Rebuilt from the ruins of an earlier church that was destroyed in World War II, today’s Gedächtniskirche stands as a symbol of peace and hope. It is there that the violinist has just recorded “Melody” by the late Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk, “Lullaby” and “Moment Musical” by Kyiv-born Valentyn Silvestrov, and other works for Music for Ukraine, Hope’s forthcoming new Deutsche Grammophon EP, from which he will donate all artist royalties to charity. He explains:

“One piece that I was just sent from Kyiv is by a young Ukrainian violinist, who has composed it in his bomb shelter. That same young violinist has recorded a video of a folksong: he has sent it to different violinists around the world and we have all recorded a Zoom accompaniment to it. I will be performing Illia’s piece soon.”

That young violinist was Illia Bondarenko, whom Hope once coached. As featured on CNN, Bondarenko’s video brings together Hope and 93 more violinists in 29 countries around the world to raise money for the UN Refugee Agency’s humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Click here to watch the video, which has already received almost 300,000 views.

Bay Area tour with New Century Chamber Orchestra (May 12–14)

Hope was appointed in 2018 as Music Director of San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra (NCCO), one of the world’s few conductorless ensembles. Later this spring, he returns to the States to lead the orchestra from the violin on their third and final Bay Area tour of the season, which takes in Berkeley, Palo Alto and San Francisco (May 12–14). Bookended by the composer’s Symphonies Nos. 55 and 40, the centerpiece of their all-Mozart program is his Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra, with Hope and violist Paul Neubauer as soloists. “A master musician” with a “rich, sumptuous tone” (New York Times), Neubauer is one of Hope’s frequent collaborators, and may be heard on his live recording of Brahms, Schumann and Mahler Piano Quartets.

One of today’s most prolific classical recording artists, Hope already has more than 30 albums to his name, including winners of the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, the Diapason d’Or of the Year, the Edison Classical Award and the Prix Caecilia. His most recent releases include Hope, which pairs Ariel Ramírez’s Misa Criolla with timeless classics by Schubert, Elgar and Pärt, and America, a solo, chamber and orchestral celebration of composers from Copland to Sam Cooke, of which the San Francisco Classical Voice concludes: “Beautiful it truly is.”

To download high-resolution photos, click here.

Daniel Hope: live spring engagements

March 18–26
Putbus, Germany
Rügen “Spring Awakening” Festival
Curator and performer: 26 concerts

April 1
Dresden, Germany
Zurich Chamber Orchestra

May 3
Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich Chamber Orchestra
With Alexey Botvinov, piano; Joscho Stephan, guitar; Dimitri Monstein, percussion

May 6
Berlin, Germany
Komische Oper Berlin / Joshua Weilerstein
SCHNITTKE: Violin Concerto No. 1

May 7
Ahrensburg, Germany
Recital with Marie Hauzel, piano

May 12–14: Bay Area tour with New Century Chamber Orchestra
May 12: Berkeley, CA
May 13: Palo Alto, CA
May 14: San Francisco, CA
MOZART: Symphony in B-flat, K. 45b, “No. 55”
MOZART: Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat, K. 364 (with Paul Neubauer, viola)
MOZART: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550

June 2–4
Bonn, Germany
BTHVN Week 2022 “Audience with Beethoven”

June 8
Hamburg, Germany
Hauptkirche St. Michaelis
“Air – a baroque journey”
Works by Falconieri, Handel, Ortiz, Vivaldi, von Westhoff and others
With Simos Papanas, violin; Nicola Mosca, cello; Emanuele Forni, lute; Naoki Kitaya, harpsichord; Michael Metzler, percussion

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© 21C Media Group, March 2022


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