Aside from being an Oscar-winning, legendary British actor there are many facets to Anthony Hopkins, apart from his acting that continues to entertain art and music lovers.
Since childhood Anthony Hopkins has always enjoyed art and music as well as his early attraction to the movies. Art and music have remained very much part of his life since and even more so lately. Tony is his preferred name, although his Grandfather called him “George”, his Father called him “Charlie” and he was actually born Philip Anthony Hopkins! It was Tony’s present wife Stella Arroyave who eventually persuaded him to exhibit his artwork in the U.S. where they live.
Anthony Hopkins paints landscapes, portraits, and animals, preferring to use a technique of thick acrylic paint and a palette knife to achieve swooping strokes on the canvas. His self-taught artwork is strong, vibrant and wild with the portraits having haunting eyes. In March 2010 Anthony Hopkins art was exhibited in London and Edinburgh with certain pieces being offered for sale. The art for sale, painted by Tony in his own studio in his home at Malibu beach ranged from £600-£9, 000 but Hopkins, unassuming of his success as an artist, leaves the business side of his art to his Columbian born wife Stella. Of his love of painting Anthony Hopkins says” When I paint, I just paint freely without anxiety regarding outside opinions as criticisms. I do it for sheer pleasure. It’s done wonders for my for my subconscious…I dream now in colours”.
It was Jonathan Poole who organized the exhibitions of Anthony Hopkins art in London and Edinburgh. When asked about the actor’s art Poole commented:
“All of them are very different. I like bringing interesting people to The Dome and I think it’s important the fans of his film know he paints as well. Sir Anthony paints with acrylic on canvas and also does ink drawings. He’s self-taught so he’s discovering his own technique. He uses a palette knife and concentrates on the eyes because he says you see the world through his eyes.”
Prior to gaining a place at the prestigious acting school R.A.D.A, Anthony Hopkins attended the Welsh College of music and drama in Cardiff which prepared him well for both disciplines. Tony is a piano virtuoso, having performed piano solos in several of his movies, most recently in “The City of Your Final Destination” giving a performance of “Venetian Medley” which is his own composition. As an accomplished pianist and composer Anthony Hopkins has composed music scores since 1962 for movies and in 2008 The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performed a selection of his compositions for “An evening of Anthony Hopkins’ Music”. The Welsh actor’s film music was played by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson Symphony Centre in Texas. Theme songs from three of his films were also performed, with movie clips introducing each one and slides of his original artwork were also shown with a commentary being given by Tony.
“His music has a wonder and melodic flow that is beautiful and moving,” said Stephen Cook, spokesman for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
“I think our audiences will appreciate his music. This will speak to both the classical music aficionado and the movie fan. He said his approach to making music is much the same as his approach to acting. Speaking from his home near Los Angeles, Anthony Hopkins said: “I just go for it and follow my instincts and my intuition.”
On July 23rd 2011, Sir Anthony Hopkins appeared at Birmingham Symphony Hall where some of his piano music compositions were performed in concert by the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The special event was held in association with Classic FM. The evening included Anthony Hopkins music written by the legendary actor himself for his own movies ‘Slipstream‘ and ‘August‘ and also they performed music from movies he has starred in, including ‘The Remains of The Day‘, ‘Shadowlands‘ and his Oscar-winning ‘The Silence of The Lambs’ . The performances were interspersed with Hopkins talking about his love of music, composing and playing his piano (he owns Frank Sinatra’s original piano and also has a Steinway) and how music, not acting, was his original passion from a very early age. Anthony Hopkins also talked about his diverse movie roles in conversation with concert producer Tommy Pearson. This was an ideal opportunity for the audience to discover more about the man and his music.
Sir Anthony Hopkins said: “There are themes and passages in these pieces that have been several decades in the making, and to bring them all vividly to life with one of the great symphony orchestras of the world is absolutely thrilling.”
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra associate conductor Michael Seal conducted the music, although Anthony Hopkins said he might conduct “some of the simpler pieces.” He won’t, however, play the piano. “I wouldn’t even play for anyone in my front room,” he said.
When Hopkins turned up for rehearsals with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, they were amazed and impressed that he had learnt every one of their 80 names by heart ! A follow up performance was given later in Cardiff.
The Associate conductor of B.S.O Michael Seal said of Sir Anthony Hopkins:
“He seemed genuinely happy to hear the orchestra playing his music. He was smiling all day.”
Anthony Hopkins has now (January 2011) released his first album of music he has composed, including early compositions from childhood, scores for his own movies, and an aria entitled “Stella”, dedicated to his wife - a total of 9 compositions in collaboration with Classic FM.
Around Christmas 1986, Anthony Hopkins made a record (went to number 75 in the UK music charts). The single is called ‘Distant Star’, see what you think of it below: