New Classical Tracks®

Watch and listen as Daniel Hope honors his Irish roots on new album

New Classical Tracks (extended interview) - Daniel Hope
New Classical Tracks - Daniel Hope

Daniel Hope, violin – Irish Roots; with the AIR Ensemble, Lúnasa and Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon)

Violinist Daniel Hope joined Julie Amacher in the studio recently to talk about his new recording and to play a piece that is near and dear to him.

“My great grandfather came from Ireland, and my Irish heritage is extremely important to me,” he says. “It's part of the next big project that I've been involved with, which is a new album titled Irish Roots, which looks at the history of Ireland — 500 years of Irish music and history.

“And there's one piece which I think is linked to Ireland like none other, and that's “Danny Boy.” It was the piece that my Irish grandmother would always sing to me. My great grandfather was called Daniel McKenna. He came from Waterford in Ireland, and I'm named after him. So when I play “Danny Boy,” it's a connection to the past. It's a connection to my family, and it's a connection to Ireland."

This recording allowed you to have some really interesting collaborations.

“It's been a dream come true for me. Irish music is a very rich and wide field, but the traditional folk element of Irish music is, of course, the core and the basis of it. And for 20 to 25 years, I have been lucky enough to know Lúnasa, which is to me one of the greatest Irish bands on the planet. And we had been thinking about maybe collaborating for at literally 20 years. And then about two years ago, they rang me up and said, ‘It's time for you to come on stage with us and play some Irish music.’

“And so we started playing together, and I grew in confidence in terms of this music, and they let me into their world, which is such a perfect world. And so I'm very, very privileged that they're on this album for three tracks.

“Folk music has been the center of traditional classical music for centuries. Bach and Telemann and Handel and many others, they were obsessed with folk music, and folk music always found its way into their compositions. And on this album, you hear that, but you also hear the other way around. You hear how this cross-pollination took place over centuries.”

Video pick

“I'd like to play a piece which is so closely linked to Ireland, probably like no other piece,” Hope says. “And I'm very much part Irish. I have an Irish passport, and it was the only passport I had until about five years ago.”

Listen as Hope performs his arrangement of “Danny Boy” at the Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio at Minnesota Public Radio headquarters.


Daniel Hope, violin – Irish Roots; with the AIR Ensemble, Lunasa and Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon)

Daniel Hope, violin – Irish Roots; with the AIR Ensemble, Lunasa and Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (Amazon)

Daniel Hope, violind (official site)

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Host Julie Amacher provides an in-depth exploration of a new classical music release each week.

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About New Classical Tracks®