Born in New York in 1946, Hopkinson Smith graduated from Harvard with Honors in Music in 1972. The next year he came to Europe to study with Emilio Pujol in Catalonia and Eugen Dombois in Switzerland. He then became involved in numerous chamber music projects including the founding of the ensemble Hespèrion XX. Since the mid-80s, he has focused almost exclusively on the solo repertoires for early plucked instruments producing a series of prize-winning recordings for Astrée. These feature Spanish music for vihuela and baroque guitar, French lute music of the Renaissance and baroque, early 17th-century Italian music and the German high baroque. The recording of his lute arrangements of the Bach solo violin Sonatas and Partitas, released in the year 2000, has been universally acclaimed by the press. Gramophone magazine called it “the best recording of these works on any instrument.” More recently, a recording on Renaissance lute with works published by Pierre Attaingnant was awarded a Diapason d’Or and was called “superb” by Le Monde. A Dowland recording, out since early 2005, also won a Diapason d’Or and was called “wonderfully personal” in a review in the New York Times. A recording with music from the world of Francesco da Milano, was awarded a Diapason d’Or de l’Année (the French equivalent of a Grammy award) in November 2009 and has been called “the first recording to do justice to Francesco’s reputation.”
Hopkinson Smith has performed and given master classes throughout eastern and western Europe, North and South America, Australia and Japan sometimes combining the life-style of a hermit with that of a gypsy. In March 2007, he gave concerts and workshops in Palestine under the auspices of the Barenboim-Said Foundation and the Swiss Arts Council. He teaches at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Hopkinson Smith’s Web site is www.hopkinsonsmith.com.