Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
I was inspired from music and art from my first life and birth. My Grandmother, Katharina, bought a Steinway on the occasion of my birth. From a young age, I played pieces from memory. To study music and piano was self-evident.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
First my grandmother, later my teachers, Bruno Leonardo Gelber, Poldi Mildner, Shura Cherkassky and Herbert Seidel.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
My latest project, ‘Chronological Chopin’ on ‘Divine Art’ (ddc 25752)
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
‘Chronological Chopin’ on ‘Divine Art’ (ddc 25752) and the ‘Goldberg-Variations’ on ‘Bayer’, (BR 100 326), but also the ‘Chopin – Schumann Anniversary Edition 2010’ on MSR-Classics, MS 1361, the ‘Schumann: Kreisleriana Op. 16, Symphonic Etudes Op. 13 (incl. Variations posthumes)’ on Bayer BR 100 311, the ‘Schumann – Liszt: Fantasie in C major Op. 17, Sonata in B minor’ on Bayer BR 100 293, the ‘Scriabin: Piano Works, Opp. 2 – 74’ on Bayer BR 100 161 and the DVD with ‘Liszt: Piano Transcriptions of Schubert Songs and Godowsky Symphonic Metamorphoses on Waltzes and Themes of Johann Strauss’ on Arthaus 100 455, which are produced by ‘WDR-Television’
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
Bach: Partita in C minor, BWV 826; Weber: Rondo brilliant, Opus 62, Franck: Prelude, Choral and Fugue; Chopin: Prélude in C sharp minor, Op. 45, Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47, Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49, Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52, Scherzo No. 4 in E major, Op. 54, Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57, Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60, Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat major, Op. 61
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I try to be at home in all epochs and styles of music, to cover the whole literature. But mainly I like to focus on Bach, Chopin and German Romantics
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Yes, indeed I have: Carnegie Hall, New York. The acoustics are unique and outstanding
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
Franck: Symphonic Variations
Chopin: Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60, Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat major, Op. 61
I also listen to great organ music. Why? I parallel studied organ in the masterclass of Edgar Krapp, where at the age of 21 I performed the complete organ work of J S Bach. I gave recitals and masterclasses in USA, Japan, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia/Singapore
In principle I listen to all types of music, also/even to Helene Fischer
Who are your favourite musicians?
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Maria João Pires, Ivo Pogorelich, Arcadi Volodos, Murray Perahia, Grigory Sokolov
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Japan, Tokyo: Bunka Kaikan and Suntory Hall
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
I would like to reword the question: What I would not impart to aspiring musicians: If they are not authentic and “themselves”, if they do not express the music in the right and thoughtful way.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
To be even more successful and to reach “musical heaven”
What is your most treasured possession?
My two unique Steinway D-274 pianos, which I use for all my recordings and important recitals/concerts
What do you enjoy doing most?
Besides giving concerts I enjoy scuba diving, especially in the Maldives. I’m a PADI ‘Master Instructor’ and have made more than 8500 dives in the oceans all over the world
What is your present state of mind?
Inspired, vigilant/awake and ambitious for more artistic ideas and inspiration