I am often asked when I first started playing the piano. The truth is: I don’t remember any more. But I do know that the fascination for what I consider to be the perfect instrument came from my older sister. While I had just had my first ear training lessons at the age of three, she was already hooked on the keys. Initially, it might have been a mixture of admiration and envy that brought me to the piano – but a deep love for music soon developed. My dream, of course, was to become a solo pianist. At 14, I attended Tokyo High School of Music, and at 24, I earned my degree from the University of the Arts with honours. Up to that moment, I was mainly enthusiastic about the virtuoso Romantic repertoire and the idea of winning the Chopin Competition one day. These priorities shifted bit by bit. During my studies in France with Bernard Ringeissen and in Germany with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, I realised that I communicate more freely and passionately when I am working together with other musicians, than I do in everyday life as a rather introverted person. In music I can simply speak through my emotions and my listeners will understand what I have to say – and that makes me happy. No matter the instrumentation, creating music together is what interests me the most. When I call making music a craft, I don’t mean it pragmatically; on the contrary, it means that as a musician, I cannot exist in a quiet chamber. Composers create works, while listeners want to experience new things. We musicians stand in between. And for a successful interpretation, our ideas, experiences and various understandings of aesthetics are crucial in order for us to be able to shape the pieces. Franziska and I have often played together in the past. Although we are very different people, we are connected through a deep friendship. It fascinates me every time, how quickly we find each other in music. Our common musical soul is also reflected in this recording. For me, that is the most beautiful thing about this project.