Stories » Daniel Hope says: "Yehudi Menuhin always let the student find their own voice" / The Strad

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Daniel Hope says: "Yehudi Menuhin always let the student find their own voice" / The Strad

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The following is an extract from The Strad's Memories of Menuhin article, featuring interviews with friends, family and colleagues of the great violinist and published in the May 2016 issue – download on desktop computer or through The Strad App.

Yehudi Menuhin was the reason I became a violinist. Neither of my parents had a musical background, but my mother was Menuhin's secretary for 24 years and my earliest memories are of being surrounded by music, particularly the violin – whether it was Menuhin playing or one of the many violinists who came to his house. He had a huge collection of musical memorabilia, including Paganini concert posters and portraits, and of course violins. So when I announced, aged four, that I wanted to be a violinist, my parents weren't all that surprised. I remember hearing artists such as Robert Donington and Mstislav Rostropovich at Menuhin's houses – I even recall trying to pull Slava's cello spike out from under him while he rehearsed. I heard Menuhin play alongside Stéphane Grappelli and Ravi Shankar, for whom he had huge admiration, particularly for their ability to improvise, something with which he struggled. He was an inveterate learner as well as an inveterate teacher – constantly searching for answers to life and music. I encountered this side of him first hand after I'd started studying with Zakhar Bron. Menuhin wanted to know all about Bron's teaching, and we talked for several hours, during which he asked me to play for hours – he'd jump in with fascinating insights, suggestions and comparisons.