After concentrating in Musicology at Harvard, Hopkinson Smith came to Europe in 1973 to study with Emilio Pujol, a great pedagogue in the highest Catalan artistic tradition, and also Eugen Dombois, whose sense of organic unity between performer, instrument and historical period has had a lasting effect on him.
In the mid 1970s, Hopkinson Smith was involved in the founding of the ensemble Hesperion XX and his ten year collaboration with Jordi Savall led to important experiences in chamber music which were a creative complement to his work as a soloist.
Since the mid 80s, Hopkinson Smith has focused principally on solo music for early plucked instruments. These include the vihuela, Renaissance lute, theorbo, Renaissance and baroque guitars and the baroque lute.
With his recitals and series of over 20 solo recordings, he continues to rediscover and bring to life works that are among the most expressive and intimate in the entire domain of early music.
Internationally recognized as a leading personality in the field of early music and one of the world's great lutenists, Hopkinson Smith gives concerts and master classes throughout Eastern and Western Europe and in North and South America. He currently lives in Basel, Switzerland, where he teaches at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.