Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career?
When I was young there was always music at home: my father was an amateur pianist and my parents used to play old records with all sorts of classical music: opera, lied, symphonic repertoire and piano music.
Who or what are the most important influences on your musical life and career?
Studying with truly wonderful piano teachers: Peter Feuchtwanger, Bernard Roberts at the Royal College of Music and Hamish Milne at the Royal Academy of Music. But also the legendary German baritone Hermann Prey with whom I was fortunate to work in my early twenties.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 3, I guess.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
I’d rather leave this for the critics to decide! But I am quite happy with my latest recording, Ravel’s complete works for piano solo.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
I have developed a very soft spot for Schumann since I started recording his entire piano oeuvre four years ago.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
Generally, the concerto repertoire is decided by the orchestras and conductors. The choice of chamber music pieces, in turn, is a result of a dialogue with the chamber partners I love working with. For my solo recital repertoire I am almost 100% in the driving seat in terms of making the decisions. Often I try to programme pieces I am about to record during or just after a given season.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
The Wigmore Hall in London and the Musikverein in Vienna – wonderful acoustics and atmosphere!
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
Beethoven’s Piano Concertos
Who are your favourite musicians?
Martha Argerich, Leonard Bernstein, Chick Corea, Jacqueline du Pré – at least one for each letter of the alphabet…
What is your most memorable concert experience?
2007 in Caracas: performing Penderecki’s Piano Concerto under the baton of the composer with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
True passion for what you do, hard work, patience, perseverance and a good sense of humour
Your new disc is the complete solo piano music of Maurice Ravel. What is the particular attraction of this composer’s music for you? And what are the special challenges of his piano music?
Ever since my childhood I have been in love with Ravel’s music: the colours, the atmosphere, the exotic beauty and inner lucidity of his writing. The special challenges: an enormously nuanced virtuosity, subtlety of hearing and colouring.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being with my family.
What is your present state of mind?
Onwards and upwards!
Florian Uhlig’s new Ravel: Complete Solo Piano Works is available now on the Hänssler Classic label.
Born in Dusseldorf, pianist Florian Uhlig gave his first solo recital at the age of 12. He studied with Peter Feuchtwanger and continued his studies at the Royal College of Music and at the Royal Academy of Music in London where he now lives, as well as in Berlin.
Full biography on Florian’s website: