The Silence of the Lambs actor told BBC Wales how growing up in Margam, Port Talbot, inspired his love of music, starting with his mother buying a piano.
“Dates have a particular resonance for me. I’ve written a piece called 1947,” he told the news provider.
“My grandfather took me to the circus in September 1947, on the football field in Port Talbot. I remember the smell of the tents, the elephants.”
He added: “There’s a piece that I put ‘to be played like a warm Saturday afternoon’. These are all impressions from my childhood.”
Indeed, Hopkins revealed that he often wonders if he should have become a musician rather than an actor.
“I wanted to be a concert pianist but that didn’t work out,” he recalled.
“When I went to Cardiff College of Music and Drama I was more interested in the music than the acting. I never felt I belonged in the acting business – I still don’t.”
Hopkins is an active composer, however, and some of his scores have recently been performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) in Birmingham and in Cardiff, including film scores from his screenplays Slipstream and August.
“These pieces have been inside his head in some cases for decades, because they are childhood memories,” Stephen Maddock, chief executive of the CBSO, said.
“Very evocative music of things he remembers, like going to places with his grandfather. So to hear it played live by the CBSO is, I think, a very moving experience for him and very exciting for us.”
Actor and writer Victoria Wood recently spoke out about her musical influences from childhood.
“We sang hymns at assembly, which I absolutely loved, and we also had a lesson devoted to singing,” she told the Daily Mail, claiming that removing music from the school curriculum is “scandalous”.