Blog

A contemporary master of early Baroque
and Renaissance Music: Hopkinson Smith

Blog
A contemporary master of early Baroque and Renaissance Music: Hopkinson Smith

13.02.2018

Text by Yetkin Vural
Illustration by 
Saydan Akşit

This January, Akbank Sanat’s Guitar Days brought in plucked string instrument masters from around the globe to stage. American lute master Hopkinson Smith, Hungarian guitarist Zsófia Boros and a young talent, Japanese Kanahi Yamashita were the guests of this year’s Guitar Days. After the upcoming performances, we are looking at the highlights from one of the most important names in early music and historical plucked instruments, Hopkinson Smith.

Hopkinson Smith was born in 1946 in New York. He started his guitar education at an early age and later on in his early 20’s discovered lute, an instrument he learnt how to play by himself. After finishing his musicology degree in Harvard with high honors, Smith moved to Europe to pursue his lute education with a very important name of early music and plucked string instruments, Catalonian pedagogue Emilio Pujol. Later on he continued his education in Switzerland with another lute master, Eugen M. Dombois. Smith says beyond the technical education, what he gained most from these two masters was a respect for high artistic values and the organic unity between the instrument, the performer and the music, which transformed his own understanding of music.

Starting with mid 70’s, Hopkinsopn Smith was a member of various chamber orchestras and ensembles. He was one of the founders of early music ensemble Hespèrion XX, which led a ten year long collaboration with Catalonian composer, music director and viol master Jordi Savall. Smith’s involvement with Savall and his experiences in chamber music shaped his creativity in the later years of his career, where he focused more on solo projects.

By the second half of 80’s Smith delve into the world of early period plucked instruments such as vihuela (a 15th / 16th Century instrument with 5 or 6 double strings), theorbo, Renaissance and Baroque guitars and lutes. His unique, dynamic, accurate and intimate playing style has gained much praise over the years and he is now seen as one of the most important performers of the lute and early period, Baroque and Renaissance music.

“What you try to do, always, is go beyond what you see on the paper to find the real spirit of the music which is behind any particular notation. [...] In the best of moments, I think one should experience no limits at all in a certain instrument or a certain period, but rather find total freedom.  What we’re trying to do is find and communicate this total freedom, and at the same time liberate the spirit that is behind it.”
Hopkinson Smith

With over 20 recordings, Hopkinson Smith has managed trace the history of early plucked instruments in Spain, Italy and French based Baroque and Renaissance period music. Many of his recordings were praised by prestigious classical music magazines and he received awards such as Diapason D'Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique and 10 de Répertoire. Above all, Baroque composer Bach has been a recurring theme for Smith, who has many recordings on Bach’s music. Among those, especially his lute adaptation recording of Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin was appraised by prestigious English classical music magazine Gramophone as “arguably the best you can buy of these works - on any instrument”.

Alongside the performances and recordings, Hopkinson Smith also carries on the pedagogue tradition, which had an important role in his won education, to next generations. Some of his students include names such as Rolf Lislevand, Edin Karamazov, Andreas Martin, Yasunori Imamura and Peter Croton. Hopkinson Smith’s performance of lute pieces from Elisabeth Period for Akbank Sanat Guitar Days will take place on 17th January Wednesday at 20:00. 

Follow Us
TR EN
Filter events by label
03 DEC MON
-
04 DEC TUE
2

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

20:30

Mut

Akbank Sanat

05 DEC WED
3

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

20:00

3MA: Ballaké Sissoko, Driss El Maloumi, Rajery

Akbank Sanat

06 DEC THU
6

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Silent Cinema In Digital Technology Age

Akbank Sanat

13:00

The Abc of Love + The Film Primadonna

Akbank Sanat

16:00

Views From Ottoman Empire 1Albert Samama Chickly

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

19:00

Daredevils

Akbank Sanat

07 DEC FRI
6

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Silent Cinema and MeditationThe Abyss

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Views From Ottoman Empire 2A Narrow Escape

Akbank Sanat

16:00

Views From Ottoman Empire 3

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

19:00

Filibus

Akbank Sanat

08 DEC SAT
14

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Children’s Session: Charley Bowers Collection

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Colorful Cups (For 6-14 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Buster Keaton And Charlie Chaplin Shorts

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

13:00

I Am Designing My Own Bag (Ages 6 - 14 Years Old)

Akbank Sanat

14:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

15:30

Mosaic Sculpture Workshop (For 5-12 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

16:00

Selection Of French Avant-Garde Films

Akbank Sanat

17:00

Tai Chi ChuanEce Dündar Alp

Akbank Sanat

17:15

Family Mosaic Workshop

Akbank Sanat

19:00

Man With A Movie Camera

Akbank Sanat

09 DEC SUN
-
10 DEC MON
-
11 DEC TUE
3

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

10:30

Audition Korhan Başaran - Company RAu / Audition

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

12 DEC WED
5

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

10:30

Audition Korhan Başaran - Company RAu / Audition

Akbank Sanat

14:00

Audition Korhan Başaran - Company RAu / Audition

Akbank Sanat

18:00

Migration: I'll Cease to Exist If I Forget

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

13 DEC THU
4

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

10:30

Audition Korhan Başaran - Company RAu / Audition

Akbank Sanat

14:00

Audition Korhan Başaran - Company RAu / Audition

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

14 DEC FRI
3

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Medical Technology and the Reproduction of Bodily Normality

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

15 DEC SAT
11

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

11:00

A Plate of Mondrian (For 6-12 Age)

Akbank Sanat

11:30

Akbank Children's Theatre / Gorilla

Akbank Sanat

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

12:30

Kandinsky Colour Slices (For 6- 12 Age)

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

14:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

15:30

Mini Mosaics Workshop (For 7 – 12 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

17:00

Tai Chi ChuanEce Dündar Alp

Akbank Sanat

17:00

Toy Sculpture Workshop (For 7-12 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

16 DEC SUN
-
17 DEC MON
2

11:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

18 DEC TUE
4

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

19 DEC WED
4

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

20 DEC THU
5

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

18:30

“Where are the Women in the Writing of Art History?”

Akbank Sanat

18:30

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

21 DEC FRI
4

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

20:00

Modern Ballet Class & Choreography & Method Training

Akbank Sanat

22 DEC SAT
11

Exhibition THE FAR/O/THERARCHITECTURE

Akbank Sanat

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

11:00

Colorful Cups (For 6-14 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

11:30

Akbank Children's Theatre / Gorilla

Akbank Sanat

Creative Dance Courses for Children

Akbank Sanat

13:00

Dance Classes for Adult

Akbank Sanat

13:00

I Am Designing My Own Bag (Ages 6 - 14 Years Old)

Akbank Sanat

14:30

Aerial Dance

Akbank Sanat

15:30

Mobile Sculptures

Akbank Sanat

17:00

Tai Chi ChuanEce Dündar Alp

Akbank Sanat

17:15

Linoleum Printing Workshop (For 9 – 14 Ages)

Akbank Sanat

23 DEC SUN
-

Add event to your calendar

Subscribe to Newsletter