The Project

Nope – nothing whatsoever to do with the Hope Diamond. Let me explain. Earlier this year, I got the notion into my head that it would be a good idea to aim towards recording the Beethoven Violin Concerto, seeing as it’s my favourite concerto in the whole world, ever, and also probably the one piece of music I’ve spent the most time on over the course of my violin playing life. So I decided to ask my old friend, the hugely talented composer Ciaran Hope, to write me a concerto to record with it, a piece that would be tailored towards me and my playing, and stand alone in its own right, and also complement the Beethoven on the album or in concert. Luckily for me, he was extremely taken with the idea, as he expresses below in his paragraphs about our project! I was pretty sure we’d find some way to make it a reality given how much we both wanted it, and lo and behold, when we asked, the Arts Council of Ireland kindly gave us some extraordinarily generous support towards this goal!

The plan is to work very closely together – Ciaran is 100% the composer of the concerto, while I will be making suggestions, trying out what he’s written, and helping to tailor the piece to my style, my sound, and my instrument.

Every step of the creative process will be documented and posted online. As far as we know, this hasn’t actually been done before! Did I mention that Ciaran lives in LA, and I in Dublin? Yes – Skype will more than likely be facilitating this whole thing. We are still ironing out the technical details. For example, right now I’m on the road with Nigel Kennedy, and probably won’t get online for a few days because I’ll be up in the mountains somewhere in Poland; I also forgot my camcorder, and am not sure how to do video capture with Skype! However, the project is due to start rolling for real very soon, and we’ll simply have to come up with a good system for doing the work and making it available for anyone to see. We’re going to have a separate blog dedicated to the concerto at, a twitter, a youtube channel, etc. Hopefully it will be interesting to a few people other than the two of us!

I’m so incredibly excited about this thing, I can’t even put it into words! Plus, I’m only going to be online for about the next 5 minutes! So have some of Ciaran’s instead!

Cora Venus Lunny”


Bucket List – A list of things to do before you die [Comes from the term “kicked the bucket”]

You know, if I really sit back and think about it, there are only a few things I would like to have on my bucket list; score a memorable movie trilogy, learn to speak Hindi, climb Kilimanjaro, Everest….. But right up there on the top of my fantasy list, would be to actually write a concerto.

In all honesty, based on my pre-disposition to playing lots of clarinet, I imagined it might be a clarinet concerto when and if I got around to it. However, the only concerto to top that, would be a concerto for a musician I truly respond to and resonate with. I always loved the stories about Mozart writing concertos for musicians he often understood so well that he didn’t even mark in their expression markings. What amazing synergy!

When I first heard Cora Lunny making music, I was enchanted. I was listening to her playing Beethoven at the RTE Musician of the Future contest in 1998. I was there as a composer, and I was attending all the competition rounds, because I could and figured why not! Out of everyone, Cora was the one player I just couldn’t get enough of. That was my experience at the time. I mean, I literally ran out to HMV at the end of her performance to buy Beethoven’s violin concerto and that piece ended up becoming my favorite piece of music!

After hearing Cora devour Paganini on the final night, I was officially in love with her violin playing, although still a little too shy to walk up to a 16 year old girl after the awards to tell her in the middle of a throng of well-wishers that I thought she was amazing.

Years later I finally reached out and you know what? We actually became fast friends, started to hang out, talk music and work on some film scores. The symbiosis has been amazing and I have always been excited to hear what music we can make on our journey.

Today, I am thrilled to be in the ridiculously fortunate position of having to write Cora a violin concerto. With the help of an Arts Council Project Award, I get to live out a dream and spend time writing a very personal piece of music for a very dear friend and incredibly talented musician. My brain is spinning with ideas, and I am trying to slowly bring order back to the flow of creativity that is trying to burst through.

For now, It seems I will actually get to knock one of those items off my bucket list ;-)

– Ciaran Hope

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