Yes, I think that there are certain things that are possible to come to the stage for as young as six weeks and be able to play in a good performance.
If you can go past that, then it is difficult. But the ability comes in a different way, of course, because it is a different form of learning than just reading the score.
At the age you played your first violin, did your family want you to play a different instrument?
If I was fortunate enough to have an older sister who taught at a conservatory, it was quite likely that my parents would want me to play violin, because they didn’t have a violin in the house at the time. This was something that my father always said to me: “Don’t try on a violin!” You can never tell yourself that a violin is the right instrument to play.
Do you still go to the music conservatories of Europe?
We have made a lot of progress in recent years. As far as I know there are nine conservatories in Europe, plus China, and of course the United States, so there are plenty of opportunities.
How long have you been playing stringed instruments?
I was born before stringed instruments, so you are not familiar with the history and nature of the instruments as they have been practised up until the modern era. I would say that my parents thought it was better to not have violined at all than to play the violin as it was performed in their childhood.
So, my father and mother had an early death at a young age, and my uncle in particular died in 1955 aged 75, aged 75 and just two years after my mother, and my brother became the oldest son. This left my father and mother in the home with us for a long time.
In the late 1940s my father started to collect violin strings from the city, with my mother and sister helping him to keep these objects. His collection was very large and included all types of violin strings. He never had another violin as a present for me. They were collected and preserved by my aunt and uncle.
We never got a chance to visit them much as we used to always stay at home and play with the toys.
I remember once my father showed off the collection to his teacher. He showed him these strings that were not only full of holes, and all sorts of small things, but also in good condition and well maintained.
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