Daniel Hope is one of the world’s most accomplished, honored and busiest musicians. Winner of the European Cultural Prize, he is music director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra (Switzerland), the Dresden Frauenkirche (Germany), the Savannah Music Festival (Georgia) and the New Century Chamber Orchestra (San Francisco). He’s a brilliant solo violinist, chamber musician, conductor, filmmaker, writer and all-around great guy. So when he asked me to write a violin concerto for him, I was thrilled.
Given my day job [as CEO] at the Aspen Music Festival and School, I can write one large work and a few smaller ones each year. After the summer festival ends, I go to a tranquil place in Maine and turn into a composer.
Daniel has a particularly beautiful sound in the lower register of the violin, complemented by his gorgeous Guarneri del Gesù instrument (made in 1746, the golden age of violin-making). I chose to feature that sound. The Zurich and New Century chamber orchestras are small groups of independent and talented musicians, so I decided that, instead of being a piece for violin and orchestra, the concerto would be written with each part individually crafted—24 separate parts in total.
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