Growing up in the English countryside, then 11-year-old Daisy Jopling had mastered Bach’s complicated allegros on her violin before she had even heard of the name John Lennon.
Decades later and Jopling is a world-class violinist. She has collaborated with musicians from around the world in dozens of genres, including, Reggae, Hip Hop, Mexican, African, and many more. Her talent and lifetime of experience performing classical music in places like Vienna, Austria, Germany and Italy, mixed with her dedication to exploring other styles, has created her own rock violin sound, now world renowned.
But, while you may notice her English accent and eclectic style if you bumped into Jopling on the streets of Peekskill, you would never know she is such an accomplished musician. Jopling is gracious in her manner, humble about her work and generous with her talent. She has performed just as enthusiastically for 100 Peekskill Middle School students during a free performance as she has for an audience of 30,000 at the prestigious Vienna Festival.
After only two years in Peekskill Jopling has played free shows to bring classical music to local students and is working to create a non-profit foundation that will establish a supplemental music program in public schools.
“I feel passionately about my life. I have had an incredible life and have traveled the world all because I had the chance to play music,” Jopling said.
Jopling moved to Peekskill two years ago to live with her Peekskill-native husband Joe Brown, a pioneer in the technology industry who created MEMS, (micro electrical mechanical systems), and now works as a technology consultant. As Jopling got to know the community, people started asking if she could help the school music programs. So she has.
“I really believe music can change a child’s life. It is a pity they cut it so much for school programs,” Jopling said of her willingness to give back to the Peekskill community. She has played benefit concerts and collaborated with school music groups for performances as well. This Sunday she is celebrating her 43rd birthday by playing a show at St. George's Winery that will include guest performances by local artists.
While Jopling works towards Federal non-profit status to get her Foundation off the ground, she has also been busy creating her latest album, made with Peekskill resident and composer Brian Taylor. Jopling is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for the project. The campaign launched Feb. 7 and ends in two weeks. She has raised $4,000 as of Feb. 16.
The album is special to Jopling because two of her own pieces, one with a gypsy/Spanish feel and the other with a more Latin and pop feel, will be included. She plans to release the album by May 19, in time for her second performance at the Paramount Center for the Arts. Her first at the Paramount, given last May 19, was a big hit with the almost sold-out theater.
The album is also different from anything Jopling has created before because it will be recorded with her band-Daniel Mintseris on piano/keyboard, Ben Zwerin on bass and Doug Yowell on drums -a group of professional musicians with no classical experience.
“I chose them because they are all incredibly flexible and have never played classical. They are brilliant musicians and I figured I would get a fresh take on it because they are not filled with what it is supposed to be,” Jopling said of her “rock band set up” she was looking for.
“I want to connect the 100,000 people who wouldn’t listen to classical music but will listen to me,” Jopling said of her work and new album.
The group hopes to raise the $20,000 through Kickstarter in the next two weeks and will record the new album at the end of March at Rhinebeck, New York’s Clubhouse Studios. The album should be released in time for the May 19 Paramount show.
Once the album is recorded, Jopling hopes to move forward with her non-profit. She has already talked to schools and the government agencies that she needs to help with the project. She has also been in touch with Dr. Margaret Martin, the founder of the Los Angeles based Harmony Project, an award-winning research-based non-profit that targets at risk youth in underserved areas L.A. Jopling hopes to model her program off of the Harmony Project in order to change children’s lives with music.
This Sunday, Jopling's birthday party at the Winery at St. George from 5 to 7 p.m. is open to the public. Guest musicians will include Brian Taylor on the flute and Mohegan Lake’s Gabriel Sansone, who will sing. And Jopling will also feature a guest magic act by Peekskill’s magician Margaret Steele.
The party costs $55 per person, which includes hor d’oeuvres, and an open bar.
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