Chad Hoopes: State of independence

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Chad Hoopes launched his career with a spectacular win aged 13 in the Junior division of the Menuhin Competition in 2008, but in subsequent years, the forward-looking, innately positive US violinist has deliberately taken less obvious paths to musical success, as he tells Toby Deller

When reflecting on his career so far, the American violinist Chad Hoopes often talks about having followed his own path. It certainly got off to an exceptional start, launched in earnest when he won the 2008 Menuhin Competition Junior division. And it took an interesting detour when, his high-school studies and a handful of years of international tours behind him, he decided to study with Ana Chumachenco at the Kronberg Academy in Germany (2013–15). He then returned to the US to live in New York, a city he had always wanted to explore, and shortly afterwards received an Avery Fisher Career Grant from the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

It is less the accumulation of rare milestones that mark out his personal path than his internal journey and how that is influencing his output as a violinist. ‘I think that’s maybe why I pushed myself out of my comfort zone,’ he says of his decision to spend time in Germany. ‘I could have gone to Juilliard or Curtis or another of the American schools, but I wanted to experience a different culture and a different tradition. Not necessarily better, but just a different perspective.’

He admits that in the earliest stages of his career, music was all-consuming. ‘But as I get older, I see how so many things are connected in music and in art and culture. It’s something that I am very curious about and am constantly trying to learn more about. I’m listening carefully to the people who know more than I know.’…

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