<< -- 2 -- Tess Crebbin CELLO AND SUSHI
TC: You come from a musical family. As a child, you were already playing in a family chamber music trio.
DI: Yes, my mother was a piano teacher and so was her mother. Mum introduced my father to the wonders of music because when he came over to Germany from Japan he had never even seen as much as a violin close-up. So he had no idea how it sounded. Because my mother's family was so very musical, I suppose that she passed the music bug on to all of us. By the time that I was four years old, my brother and sister were already playing the piano and then they started playing violin and viola. So all that was missing was a cellist in the family and my mum said: 'Why don't you learn how to play cello and become our family cellist?' I did, and it was a great choice for me. Very soon I knew that cello was my instrument. It is so incredible and not comparable to anything else in my opinion. There is great piano literature also, and I did enjoy piano, but a cello is not just an instrument. It is a personality. Once I had my first cello in my hands that was it for me: I knew I wanted to be a professional musician and I knew I wanted to be a cellist. Our family trio, by the way, was called the Ishizaka Trio. We kept playing until four years ago.
TC: It can be quite difficult to set out to make a career as a professional cellist, can't it?
DI: Perhaps, but for me it was all quite clear. I did not have a hard time deciding and I did not worry about how I was going to make it. I just knew that I would, somehow, sooner or later. I suppose it helped me that I was introduced to the circle around Boris Pergamenschikow right from the start. My first teacher in Bonn was the Polish cellist Barbara Varsanyi who had been a fellow student of Pergamenschikow at Emanuel Fischmann's in St Petersburg. So it was all one line, you see. When I studied with Hans Christian Schweiker in Cologne, from 1993-1998, he was also someone connected with Boris Pergamenschikow because he was a former student and also the assistant of Pergamenschikow.
TC: How did you first come to meet Pergamenschikow?
Danjulo Ishizaka talking to Boris Pergamenschikow at the Kronberg Academy in Germany
DI: The introduction to Pergamenschikow actually happened when I was only eight years old. I auditioned for a Finnish cellist by the name of Noras when he was doing a masterclass in Cologne. When I had played for him, he said that I needed to go to the greatest teacher in the world. My mum asked him who that was and he mentioned Boris Pergamenschikow. The next day my mother, who is very determined, called Pergamenschikow and got me an appointment with him. I played for him and although he said that I was too young to join his student class, he remained in contact with me and watched my development as a musician. Eventually, he suggested that I study with Schweiker. Over the years, I then attended masterclasses with Pergamenschikow and always kept in touch with him. When he knew that he was going to move to Berlin and become cello professor at the Hans Eisler Academy, he invited me to move there and join his class. That was in 1998, and I have been with him until he died in April this year.
Copyright © 6 December 2004
Tess Crebbin, Germany