Also Plays Festivals Through July in Aspen, Santa Fe and Menlo
Violinist Daniel Hope's summer will be a festive one, with a return to Germany’s Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in an expanded role as Artistic Director, and with multiple concerts in the U.S. at music festivals in Aspen, Santa Fe and Menlo.
Set in one of Germany's most beautiful provinces, the "Meck-Pomm" Festival hosts 130 concerts in 90 venues for some 70,000 visitors each year, from mid-June to mid-September. Last year in his role as Artistic Partner, Hope put forth, to great success, a characteristically vast repertoire of concerto and chamber music: works from Mendelssohn to Prokofiev, to selections from his Grammy-nominated Deutsche Grammophon album, Air. a baroque journey. For this 22nd annual festival, the violinist takes over the artistic planning: from June through August, he will program and perform another wide array of works, including concertos by Bach and Mozart, and chamber music from Schumann to Schnittke. On June 18 with the NDR Symphony Orchestra, Hope will perform the world premiere of Bechara El-Khoury's Violin Concerto No. 2, "War Concerto," a piece commissioned for Hope by the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival.
Of the French-Lebanese composer El-Khoury and his work, Hope told Classical Archives: "El Khoury is someone I find to have an amazingly strong and a very lyrical voice. … The `War Concerto' is somewhat based on the story of my great-grandparents' escape from Nazi-Germany, but it also examines his own experiences of growing up in Lebanon and Paris. I'm very excited about it."
Hope was a 2006 Prize Winner in Residence at Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and has intensified his relationship with the festival in recent years. Now as Artistic Director, he runs his own summer concert series called "Hope's Music," which he uses to foster the development of young talent and encourage cultural exchange. "During the summer months, I will be guesting regularly in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as a violinist, a friend of the Festspiele, and as a curious audience member,” says Hope. “In these roles, I will be able to experience and present interesting musicians and projects, and play a lot of music, too.” The Festival has one of Europe’s largest young musician series, offering more than 30 newcomers the chance to give recitals. This summer, Hope will collaborate with this year’s Prize Winner in Residence, cellist Li-Wei Qin, who will bring in the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra and further widen the Festival’s international connections. Hope also welcomes back the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (with artistic directors David Finkel and Wu Han) and Carnegie Hall’s “Academy” Program, both in residence for the second consecutive year.
At Colorado's Aspen Music Festival on July 15, Hope will take part in a concert with the Aspen Chamber Symphony conducted by Robert Spano, performing Ravel's Tzigane and another El-Khoury piece, Unfinished Journey, a piece commissioned by Hope in 2009 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Yehudi Menuhin’s death. On July 19, he plays and directs a Baroque program showcasing material from his album, Air. a baroque journey, with works ranging from Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann to dazzling rarities by Westhoff, Falconieri and Matteis. Air. a baroque journey has been one of the most celebrated releases in Hope's sizable discography. Gramophone magazine exclaimed: "This is an exciting disc, with a heady, pied-piper power over the listener that comes from realizing that the bright sense of discovery once felt by these composers is being experienced just as much by their modern-day interpreters. You can’t ask for much more than that."
Hope’s summer festival season continues with three concerts at New Mexico's Santa Fe Music Festival. The July 23 program features concertos by Bach; both the July 24 and 25 concerts present chamber music by Mendelssohn, Brahms, and 20th-century Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu.
On July 31, Hope makes his debut at the Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival in Northern California, joined onstage by two friends and frequent collaborators: cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han (who are also artistic directors of the festival). This trio, plus violist Paul Neubauer, will play a concert that spotlights another musical collaboration between friends: 19th-century violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim and his close musical compatriot Johannes Brahms. The program mirrors the theme of Hope's most recent DG album, The Romantic Violinist: A Celebration of Joseph Joachim, and includes two major works by Brahms: the Violin Sonata No. 1 and the Piano Quartet No. 1, along with lyrical romances by Joachim, Dvorák, and Clara Schumann, and arrangements of songs by Mendelssohn.