The mid-week long read: time out

1w ago


Daniel Hope is one of the world’s most successful violinists. On top of an acclaimed solo career, he also initiates and directs countless music projects across a packed international itinerary. We caught up with the mile-munching maestro during a rare moment of repose on his current world tour, having a well-earned break aboard the new Porsche Panamera.

Flashback to the previous evening, and women in glamorous evening gowns mix with youngsters in kippahs and sneakers at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Heads nod in time to the sound of Vivaldi. On stage, Daniel is in his element, conjuring up a summer storm on his trusty violin. Playing a new interpretation of a famous baroque piece, the 45-year-old has succeeded in doing what many musicians only dream of — his album ‘For Seasons’ has been enthusiastically received not only by traditional fans of classical music but also by younger generations.

The morning after the concert, Daniel sits in the Panamera and enjoys the gift of silence for a while. Gradually he begins to talk. About music. About himself. And what music can set in motion.

As music director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and of San Francisco’s New Century Chamber Orchestra, Daniel is already spinning many plates. And as artistic director of Dresden’s Frauenkirche, he’ll also plan and organise ambitious concert programs in 2019 and beyond. Throughout the world, the remarkable determination with which he pursues charitable and public-interest projects attracts big sponsors and media interest. His name appears in the titles of nearly 25 albums, and he himself appears on stage in around 130 concerts a year. Once a week he hosts his own radio show. He writes books and newspaper articles. And he can also be seen on screen — most recently in the documentary film Daniel Hope — Der Klang des Lebens (The Sound of Life).

Daniel was born in Durban, South Africa, to a family that had fled Nazi Germany. His father, a writer who was critical of apartheid, was not viewed kindly by the South African regime. So, in 1975, Eleanor and Christopher Hope took their two sons and left for London, their German-Irish roots helping to smooth their path to exile. Daniel’s mother took a job as secretary to, and later as the manager, of Yehudi Menuhin, one of the most prominent violinists of the twentieth century. No wonder then, that at an early age, Daniel found a fascination for the violin. He was just four years old when he first heard the music that would change his life — The Four Seasons.

But in addition to Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Mozart, Daniel also plays more unconventional works. His album ‘Escape to Paradise’, for example, is dedicated to Jewish composers who emigrated to the United States and shaped the music of 1930s Hollywood — for Daniel an expression of his own political convictions. As is the ‘forgotten music’ of composers terrorized by the Nazis, including Erwin Schulhoff, who died in the Wülzburg prison camp in Bavaria, and Hans Krása, whose famous children’s opera Brundibár was performed multiple times during his internment in the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

In addition to numerous memorial concerts for the victims of the Holocaust, Daniel combats racism in everyday life with his “Tu was!” (Do something!) campaign. In 2017 he was awarded Germany’s Order of Merit, the highest honour for outstanding service to the nation.

Daniel now lives in Berlin, fulfilling a long-standing wish to move to the place that his grandparents narrowly escaped under the Nazis. “I always knew that I wanted to return at some point. Berlin is such a diverse and open-minded city, with an infinite number of stories to discover.”

He lives there with his wife Silvana, a German painter, and their four-year-old son. He has ‘arrived,” he says, even though he spends more than 200 days a year on the road. “Between projects I make sure to spend a great deal of time with my family,” he explains. “My family is my only hobby.”

Sometimes his wife and son join him on tour, such as now, in the USA. In late summer he’ll spend several uninterrupted weeks at home in Berlin too, dressed down for once as an ordinary husband and father who takes his son to the zoo. But this family life hasn’t come without some compromises. “Before I met my wife I drove a 997 Targa. I loved it above all else, and it was incredibly hard for me to give it up,” he says with a sigh. The Targa gave way to a Cayenne, because for him an SUV is “simply the better family car.” But now the Panamera is giving him food for thought. Plenty of space to dream, switch off, and listen to music. The perfect place for a short break. And perhaps the perfect family car …

Panamera 4S: Fuel consumption combined 8.3 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 191 – 190 g/km

Panamera 4 E-Hybrid: Fuel consumption combined 2.7 – 2.6 l/100 km; power consumption combined: 16.1 – 16.0 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions 62 – 60 g/km