How did Yehudi Menuhin first come into your life?
My family were forced to leave South Africa in the 70s as my father is a political writer who was an anti-apartheid activist. We ended up in London but ran out of money. My mother went out to find a job and by chance landed the job of secretary to Yehudi Menuhin. It was supposed to last six months but she remained for 26 years. Menuhin became a huge influence on all my family. He called himself my “musical grandfather”. That is the way I like to remember him.
You must have heard some amazing performances and collaborations?
I was incredibly fortunate to grow up in part in Yehudi Menuhin’s house, surrounded by wonderful musicians, ranging from Menuhin to Rostropovich, but also from Ravi Shankar to Stéphane Grappelli. I can recall a rehearsal Menuhin did with Rostropovich and Wilhelm Kempff – at which I tried to pull Rostropovich’s spike from under his cello!
Daniel Hope. Photo © Nicolas Zonvi
When and how did he become an active force in your violin education?
When I was four he paid for me to study with Sheila...