Year of birth: 1979
Home town: Munich
1. When did you start playing piano?
I took my first lessons when I was six. Prior to that I played my father’s grand piano on my own.
2. What made you choose piano as your instrument? Does someone else in your family play an instrument?
Most of my relatives are musicians. For some reason, I was never interested in any instruments other than the piano, which was also my father’s instrument.
3. What does playing piano mean to you?
First it was a hobby, and later it became a profession. Today, it means practicing, performing and teaching young pianists on a weekly basis. My wife and many of my friends are pianists, too. So, the answer is: music means a lot to me.
4. What is the most important piece of music to you?
I cannot choose only one. I would say the Brahms Symphonies 2, 3 or 4. I cannot say which one.
5. What is your most memorable master class lesson? Why?
I think it is Murray Perahia’s master class, when he visited the Sibelius Academy in the late 1990s. The reason is not my own lesson, which was probably great, too, but Perahia’s passionate attitude toward music analysis, which inspired me to dig into music from a new perspective. In the long run, that class has had a great effect on my musical thinking.
6. What is your most memorable performance? Why?
Again, difficult to choose. It is probably Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1 at Musikverein’s Golden Hall in Vienna, when I was 18, playing in the finals of the Beethoven Competition. That was a very special experience.
7. Why did you find it important to found the Youth Piano Academy?
A young pianist benefits immensely from the interaction with peers and various teachers, that the Youth Piano Academy offers. This is especially important for those who come from smaller towns. That was the main idea when the project was founded and we can be proud of the results.
8. What advice would you give for the students of the Youth Piano Academy or for the young pianists in general?
Be curious: through the piano and music one can learn history, composing, mathematics, ergonomics, analysis, improvisation, psychology and all manner of things.