For me, there was no other profession in the world than musician. Coming from a musical family, I didn’t know anybody outside of that world (except maybe our teachers in school), as my parents’ entire circle of friends were musicians, and music has been almost as important to me as eating and drinking.

Since there was a piano in my home, I played on that as soon as I could stand. This fascination was so strong that my mother parked me twice a week at the home of a friend, who taught me at a very early age, mainly improvising and having fun.

Alban Gerhardt

Alban Gerhardt. Photo © Kaupo Kikkas

I began playing the cello when I was eight. My younger sister started playing the violin (as I had unsuccessfully done at the age of three) and my mother suggested a string instrument for me as well – “How about the cello?” – and just to get her out of my face, I agreed to that. But even in my second lesson, I asked my teacher to show me how to do vibrato on the cello. I had quite an inferiority complex because,...