Hopkins, John (Raymond)
(b Preston, Lancs., 19 July 1927). English conductor and music administrator. He studied the cello at the RMCM (1943–6) and conducting at the GSM, London (1947–8), also taking a course at the Mozarteum in Salzburg (1949). His first appointment was as apprentice conductor to the Yorkshire SO, 1948–9; then he was appointed assistant conductor of the BBC Scottish Orchestra and conductor of the BBC Scottish Singers, a post he held until 1952 when he became chief conductor of the BBC Northern Orchestra. In 1957 he moved to New Zealand as conductor of the National Orchestra, remaining in that post until 1963 when he moved to Australia as director of music of the ABC. He relinquished that post in 1973 to become dean of the School of Music in the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, where he remained until 1986, when he became director of the NSW Conservatorium (now Sydney Conservatorium). He has appeared widely in Europe (including the USSR), North America and Japan as a guest conductor, and in Australia he has played a prominent part in national music camps and training orchestras. He inaugurated Prom series in Sydney and Melbourne, and has been active in introducing new music to Australian audiences. Hopkins became principal conductor of the Auckland PO in 1983. He was made OBE in 1970.
Hopkins, Lightnin’ [Sam]
(b Centerville, TX, 15 March 1912; d Houston, 30 Jan 1982). American blues singer and guitarist. He was a farm worker in Texas and became acquainted with the blues there through Blind Lemon Jefferson and his cousin Texas Alexander, whom he accompanied in the 1940s. He made his first recordings in Los Angeles in 1946 with pianist Willie ‘Thunder’ Smith, and performed in New York and Chicago before settling in Houston in the 1950s. At the end of the decade many of his earlier recordings were reissued on long-playing discs, and in 1959 he began a series of albums for a number of record labels including Folkways and Arhoolie that made him known to a wide public. Thereafter he performed in clubs and festivals and became one of the most frequently recorded African American blues singers of the postwar era.
Hopkins was among the most consistent blues performers. The arpeggio playing on Short Haired Woman and boogie-woogie rhythms on Big Mama Jump (both 1947, Gold Star) are major facets of his work to which he repeatedly returned. His Tim Moore’s Farm (1947, Gold Star) was one of the few direct protest blues issued on a commercial 78 r.p.m. record, but Coffee Blues (1950, Jax) was his first nationally successful recording. Many of his works reflect his immediate milieu, such as the gambling theme of Policy Game (1953, Decca) and his moving slow blues Lonesome in your Home (1954, Herald). Among his finest recordings are Penitentiary Blues and Bad Luck and Trouble (both 1959, FW), which clearly display his rough voice with its marked vibrato and his arpeggiated guitar technique. A large proportion of Hopkins’s blues are extemporized. Many have startling imagery, as in Have you ever seen a one-eyed woman cry (1959, ‘77’); others, such as California Showers (1961, Arhoolie), comment on his experiences, or are autobiographical, such as I worked down on the chain gang (1963 Prst.). He recorded with his brothers John Henry Hopkins and Joel Hopkins, both blues guitarists, and with Brownie McGhee, Big Joe Williams and Sonny Terry on Wimmin from Coast to Coast (1960, WP). Although Hopkins’s mannerisms of playing led to a certain repetitiveness, his original turns of phrase and profound feeling for the blues mean that his recordings are always interesting and are often masterpieces of the blues idiom.
M. McCormick: ‘Lightnin’ Hopkins: Blues’, Jazz Panorama, ed. M. Williams (New York, 1962/R), 311–318
S. Tonneau: ‘Lightnin’ Hopkins’, Rhythm & Blues Panorama, no.32 (1964) [whole issue]
C. Bentley: ‘Lightnin' Hopkins: Last of the Great Blues Singers’, Juke Blues, no.40 (1998), 36–40
English firm of piano makers. In 1837 John Hopkinson (b Chatham, 5 Dec 1811; d Criccieth, 4 April 1886) became a music professor in Leeds; his brother James joined him in new premises at 6 Commercial Street by 1841. The 1842 directory also lists them as music sellers and publishers; by 1845 they were advertising their own microchordon, cottage, semi-cabinet and cabinet pianos. Piano making became their sole activity by 1900.
In 1846 John opened a factory in London, James staying in Leeds until 1856, when another brother took over. Business flourished, and in 1851 they advertised in London (at 6 and 7 Store Street), claiming that their pianos were 30–40% cheaper than most other first-class instruments. In 1851 Hopkinson patented a grand piano action, whereby a ‘tremolo’ like that on a violin could be produced (patent no.13,652); such an instrument with 6⅞ octaves ‘in a neat plain mahogany case’ cost 110 guineas.
John retired in 1869, having established a reputable firm and won prizes at various exhibitions. The firm moved many times in the area of New Bond Street, London. In Leeds (c1860–70), the firm changed its name to Hopkinson Bros., and to Hopkinson Bros. & Co. (c1870). James Hopkinson retired in 1883, and in 1940 the family lost control over the firm when Hopkinsons' Successors Ltd took over at the same premises (5 and 6 Commercial Street). In London, the Hopkinson firm amalgamated with Rogers into the Vincent Piano Co. Ltd shortly after World War I. In 1963 H.B. Lowry and I.D. Zender took over the manufacture of pianos under both names at George Rogers & Sons (Tottenham) Ltd. In 1993, following the liquidation of the Bentley Piano Co. in Gloucestershire, Whelpdale Maxwell & Codd took over the manufacture of Hopkinson, Rogers, and Knight pianos. These brands are handcrafted to different specifications.
Jurors' Reports [XVI: Musical Instruments], International Exhibition, London, 1862 (London, 1862)
E. Pauer: A Dictionary of Pianists and Composers for the Pianoforte with an Appendix of Manufacturers of the Instrument (London, 1895)
R.E.M. Harding: The Piano-forte: its History traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851 (Cambridge, 1933/R, 2/1978/R)