Personal Words

When asked: “At what age did you start?”, the counter question emerges in me: “with what?” Long is the path, until the feeling is reached, this is the right one, which is worth following. It requires time, until from the pure hand craft of piano playing through continuous searching and questioning I free myself from barriers, and then bestow upon the people energy, upon the listening experience colours and atmosphere, upon the concert emotional expression, until for me, the interpreter, the happy experience becomes perceptible: “It is playing through me”. Many obstacles were to be overcome, until I had the feeling, that I can meet my own demands.

During infancy, it was experiences like Bernstein’s conducting in a concert that primed me. The sensation of using the piano as a dialogue partner allowed me refuge from the world of adults. Then, my adult studies took me to a new level of personal development and gave fund memories: my professor as a guiding companion, one year in metropolitan London, a magic performance in Barcelona, a never before experienced chamber music festival in Florida.

Meanwhile, I have reached a stage in my life which I perceive as a treat for the many deprivations of the last decades. Personally today I am allowed to be the way I am. A privilege I appreciate very much. One of the turning points was the birth of my daughter in 2007 who at present through her urge for independence brings my own past to mind. With my relocation to a house in the country, I have fulfilled a desire and am enjoying nature with all my senses, here close to Berlin. Never have I felt the music as deeply as today, wanting to fathom and move within it.

For me, music contains the reflection of all traits and characteristics of life, like a personal mirror for our experiences and desires. The spiritual text of a Beethoven inspires me. The romantic urging of a Chopin is changed into emphasis and the humour of a Haydn exhilarates me. Contemporary compositions arouse diverse methods of approach in me. My most essential experience dealing with music is the extraction of energy from playing.

In selecting concert programs, exceptionally difficult pieces appeal to me, such as the Liszt transcription of a Beethoven symphony which takes me to technical limits. I am at all times my own relentless critic. I like to moderate my performance, because I can very quickly connect with the audience and relax listeners who feel as if their knowledge of music may be lacking. Our life is not long enough to become acquainted with the entire repertoire of piano literature. Time and time again I concentrate on less known composers for my CD productions, researching with curiosity. In doing so, the spiritual encounter, e.g. with Furtwängler and his complex life, was a special experience. What I love about chamber music – besides the self-evident common feeling of musical bonds – is a feeling of wide awake communication and absolute reliability plus a profound trust during preparation. Then the performance will succeed in cheerful exuberance.

I have always felt the urge to pass my experiences on to students. Thereby, a fertile collaboration can only take place when a relationship of trust is established between teacher and student. Thus, space can be created for the pursuit of something new and for the imprint of one’s own imagination. Thereby, it is necessary to open oneself to a new language without denying cultural roots, as well as, to welcome challenges and stimulations. The musician should be aware of the responsibility towards the composition and should embrace the composer selflessly to give an authentic performance. Patience should be combined with reflection, musical intelligence, and practical organisation, in order to find a place within today’s music scene.

The impressions of a trekking tour through Nepal at the turn of 1996/97 made me suddenly realise, that we as tiny individuals often take ourselves far too important. We should more be interested in a sense of community. We should support rather than frighten each other, in order to make our guest performance on earth more amiable.