Who or what inspired you to take up the ‘cello and pursue a career in music?
When my father gave me the possibility to try a cello, everything went naturally its own way. There has never been a moment of decision-making.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
All my teachers, mostly Eberhard Feltz; Nikolaus Harnoncourt and many musicians I’ve played with, including Janine Jansen, Gidon Kremer, the Quatuor Ébène and Alexander Lonquich to name a few.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
The next concert.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
That way of thinking prevents you from making music.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
There are a lot of pieces that speak to you at different times. It is not always easy to judge the amount of time you need to bring them to life. Being aware of that amount, you choose the music that you want to spend your life with and grow.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Philharmonie in Warsaw. They have a special spirit, they support and inspire you to give your best.
Who are your favourite musicians?
I very much admire Alexander Lonquich for his integrity, the Quatuor Ebène for the diversity and devotion in their work, Janine Jansen for her utmost urgency. Playing with them feels like the best thing you can do.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Schubert Quintet with the Quatuor Ebene, Goldberg Variations and Brahms c-minor piano Quartet with Janine Jansen come to my mind. Listening to rehearsals with Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Integrity and curiosity. Accepting failures as an inspiration to grow. Sharing something that unites everyone.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The concert experiences mentioned above.
What is your most treasured possession?
Renowned worldwide for his musical integrity and effortless virtuosity German-French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt is one of the most sought after and versatile artists today. As a soloist and conductor he enthralls audiences with repertoire spanning from the baroque to the contemporary.
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(photo: Marco Borggreve)