An esteemed pianist, composer, and arranger, Bertha Hope’s career has rightfully continued to be lively even after six decades of work.
Hope was raised in Los Angeles; her involvement in performing arts and music started early, as she attended Manual Arts High School then went on to study piano at Los Angeles Community College. In the meantime, Hope would perform in many clubs in the city.
Throughout her early career, Hope played music with and learned from other artists. One of those artists, Elmo Hope, would eventually become her husband. Together…Even after his death, Hope continues his legacy through music by working to transcribe his compositions and forming the group ELMOllennium. The group features Walter Booker to Leroy Williams, Virgil Jones, Charles Davis, Roni Ben-Hur, and Amy London. Hope has since remarried Booker.
Hope’s gift in music has opened a world of opportunities for her. Along with being a pianist, she has composed her own works. For three years, she was an artist-in-residence under the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Through this residency, she performed in many New Jersey workshops and performed with many other artists – Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, and Philly Joe Jones, to name a few. She is the leader of her own music groups, The Bertha Hope Trio and The Bertha Hope Quintet, both in which she plays the piano. She also co-founded the group Jazzberry Jam. With her music groups, Hope has traveled all over the world from the New York area to Europe, to Japan.
Hope has earned several awards. In June 2018, she received the Legends of Jazz Award from the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Four years earlier, she was presented with the Bronx Living Legend Award by fellow artist Bobby Sanabria at the Bronx Music Heritage Center.
Outside of the jazz scene, the other side of Hope’s life is dedicated to being an educator to her children and adults in her community. Hope has a BA in early childhood education from Antioch College. She teaches beginner to advanced level piano classes at Manna House Workshops in East Harlem, an advanced jazz ensemble at the Lucy Moses School and an Introduction to Jazz class at Washington Irving High School, a program sponsored by Bette Midler. She also brings jazz into public and private schools and into the souls of senior citizens in recreational and residential senior communities.
The versatile Hope has been a world-renowned pianist and a performer for decade